Fellow aviation enthusiast Jack Sweeney is known for tracking the private jets of Elon Musk & Taylor Swift. AviationSource sat down with him to discuss the controversy that has followed from this.
Via his handle on X of @Jxck_Sweeney, he has in the past come under fire for tracking Mr. Musk, as well as more recently, Ms. Swift.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
Tracking Elon Musk…
Jack Sweeney acquired attention after tracking the private jets that Elon Musk owns, and shares this data publicly, through his account @ElonJetNextDay.
It is an automated bot that provides updates whenever he flies. However, the billionaire did not take kindly to this.
The billionaire reportedly offered the enthusiast $5,000 to stop tracking his aircraft. Mr. Sweeney responded with a counter-offer for $50,000.
Such a motive behind the increase in funds comes off the back of the fact that such data about Elon Musk and his private jets are accessible via public information on the FAA website.
Media reports from 2023 stated that Grimes, Mr. Musk’s ex-partner, had tracked his jets to have custody papers served to him.
It could very well be the case that Mr. Musk was trying to avoid this, hence the confrontation with Jack Sweeney about this.
Another report also stated that because of Sweeney’s refusal to stop tracking the flights, that this was why Mr. Musk purchased X, formerly Twitter.
Tracking Taylor Swift…
Once the saga with Elon Musk came to somewhat of an end, Jack Sweeney came under additional fire for the tracking of Taylor Swift.
As mentioned under the section regarding Musk, this is an example of how such information can be accessed publicly, via an FOI request or via the FAA website.
This detailed the private jets that Ms. Swift had owned previously or still owns.
Reports stated that she has sold one of her private jets, as lawyers threaten to sue Jack Sweeney following the information release.
One of the items of interest within Taylor Swift was whether she would be able to make it to the Super Bowl in time following a concert she hosted in Tokyo last night.
Data from RadarBox shows that she chartered a private jet with provider VistaJet on a flight down to Los Angeles from Haneda, where she will then continue onwards to Las Vegas due to the airport being full ahead of the sporting event.
At the time of writing (10/2/24 @ 1810 UK time), she is expected to make good time within this.
A Sit Down with Jack Sweeney…
AviationSource got to send a few quick fire questions to Jack Sweeney regarding the tracking of Elon Musk & Taylor Swift, and this is what has been said:
AVS: Jack, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us. Tell us a bit about yourself, who you are and what you do in terms of flight tracking to give our readers context.
JS:“ I am a college student, at UCF, 21, studying IT.”
“I wrote a program that takes ADS-B data detections landing and takeoffs, I’ve configured it to track certain aircraft me and other have identified to be owned by notable people or NASA aircraft or even AF1. It then posts the landings and takeoffs.”
AVS: You have obviously appeared in the media because of Elon Musk and Taylor Swift. How do you respond to their criticisms and are you at all concerned about lawsuits?
JS: “I believe their arguments are not truly about safety. I am not concerned because I share public data.”
AVS: Why do you feel you are being attacked over this?
JS: “Because theres a PR side of this, about the emissions, so if Swift’s team can try to hide that they are even if it is public.”
Within this, Mr. Sweeney is referring to the point that she purchased double the amount of carbon credits to offset any public flying.
AVS: What interests you about tracking flights like this?
JS: “The technology behind it, my interest in aviation, and the news/journalism side of transparency.”
Mr. Sweeney throughout has expressed that transparency is key in issues like this.
AVS: Do you plan on tracking any other aircraft from celebrities in the future following these ordeals?
JS: “I have an entire spreadsheet but setting up the accounts takes a lot of work and time. I will continue to work on a website instead.”
AVS: There is the argument that data on these aircraft are in the public domain and that any lawsuits against you wouldn’t win. Do you share that sentiment?
JS: “Yes, everyone is literally tracking her VistaJet charter today from Tokyo to LA. Thousand of people even FR24 is posting about it. It’s public.”
AVS: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about everything that’s going on?
JS: “Meta is providing special treatment to Taylor Swift, all my accounts on Meta platforms got suspended by mistake 2 hours after the letter from Swift back in December, her team also contacted Meta, all of my other tracking accounts are fine on Meta.”
AVS: With that in mind, are you concerned at all that Elon Musk will shut your accounts down?
JS: “Only time will tell but he would be called out for it if he did. “public town square””.
AVS: Jack, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.
Tracking celebrities like Taylor Swift & Elon Musk has brought a debate on which has created quite the divide.
On the one hand, this data is publicly available for anyone to use, and those who reaffirm that point believe that maybe these celebrities shouldn’t acquire private jets if they don’t wished to be tracked, especially as members of the public.
However, the other side argues that for high-profile celebrities, this could provide a security threat, such as Doxxing, or potential in-person threats.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this, and what the response from that will be.
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