It looks like Elon Musk isn’t the only billionaire who doesn’t like having their private jet tracked. Pop star Taylor Swift has threatened legal action against a Florida student who set up multiple social media accounts that release real-time information as to the whereabouts of her personal aircraft, according to The Washington Post.
This is eerily reminiscent of the whole ElonJet scandal of late 2022, in which Twitter banned an account that was tracking Musk’s jet. As a matter of fact, the student facing legal action by Swift’s team is the same guy who ran that account. Jack Sweeney, 21, runs various social media pages that log the takeoffs and landings of aircraft owned by billionaires, politicians and, of course, pop stars.
Back in December, Swift’s attorneys wrote Sweeney a cease-and-desist letter that said the pop star would “have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies” if he did not stop publishing details as to her jet’s whereabouts, likening it to “stalking and harassing behavior.”
The letter went on to say that Sweeney’s actions had caused Swift and her family “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress,” and had heightened her “constant state of fear for her personal safety.” It’s worth noting that Swift has had numerous stalkers and harassers throughout her career. Just last month, a man was arrested for stalking her at home on several occasions.
“While this may be a game to you, or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-or-death matter for our client,” the legal team wrote. The letter added that there is “no legitimate interest in or public need for this information, other than to stalk, harass, and exert dominion and control.”
Tree Paine, a spokesperson for Swift, made a direct line from Sweeney’s social media accounts to Swift’s harassers, saying that the pop star’s team couldn’t “comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection.”
Sweeney told The Washington Post that this is just an attempt to scare him away from sharing public data, noting that all of his jet-tracking accounts draw location information from the Federal Aviation Administration and volunteer hobbyists. Aircraft regularly broadcast their locations via transponders so air traffic controllers can see what’s going on. Anyone on the ground can pick up these signals by using a device called an ADS-B receiver, which are widely available online. “This information is already out there,” Sweeney said. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”
Swift’s team wrote that Sweeney is “notorious for disregarding the personal safety of others in exchange for public attention and/or requests for financial gain”, citing an incident in which he asked Elon Musk for $50,000 to take down the ElonJet account.
Facebook and Instagram banned Sweeney’s accounts that track Swift’s air travel late last year, but they’re still live on Bluesky, Mastodon, Telegram and other social media sites. His live-tracking accounts have been banned on X, but he’s allowed to post location data with a 24-hour delay. In addition to the world’s biggest pop star, Sweeney also tracks people like Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and Mark Zuckerberg.
It doesn’t look like Sweeney’s planning to stop tracking the pop star’s jet anytime soon. He’s lawyered up to defend himself from legal action.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/add-taylor-swift-to-the-list-of-famous-people-who-dont-like-their-private-jets-being-tracked-163326648.html?src=rss