Taylor Swift threatened to sue the college student who tracks her private jet

Taylor Swift threatened to sue the college student who tracks her private jet
  • The aircraft-tracking mogul Jack Sweeney has received a cease-and-desist notice from Taylor Swift.
  • The letter called on Sweeney to stop “stalking and harassing behavior.”
  • He told Business Insider he didn’t intend to harm Swift, and he used the accounts for “transparency.”

Taylor Swift has threatened to take legal action against the college student who tracks her private jet and manages social-media accounts that publish its flights.

The pop star’s lawyer sent Jack Sweeney — a University of Central Florida student who first made headlines for tracking Elon Musk’s private jets — a cease-and-desist letter in December, The Washington Post first reported on Tuesday.

The notice, which Sweeney confirmed to Business Insider that he’d received, called for him to stop “stalking and harassing behavior” and said the jet tracking had caused Swift to live in a “constant state of fear for her personal safety,” per the Post.

“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. Ms. Swift has dealt with stalkers and other individuals who wish her harm,” the letter said, according to the Post.

It also seemed to reference Sweeney’s past dispute with Elon Musk about the jet-tracking accounts.

“We are aware of your public disputes with other high-profile individuals and your tactics in those interactions, including offering to stop your harmful behavior only in exchange for items of value,” the letter said.

Sweeney told BI he appreciated Swift’s music and had no intention of harming those he tracked. He said he curated the accounts for “transparency and public information.”

Sweeney has tracked several other celebrities and billionaire jets, including Mark Zuckerberg and Tom Cruise.

“I think the people are interested,” Sweeney told BI over text. “You should have a decent expectation that your jet will be tracked, whether or not I do it as, after all, it is public information.”

In response to the letter, the Post reported that Sweeney reached out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that connected him with James Slater, an attorney based in Florida.

Slater told the publication Swift’s letter was “unfounded.” In his response to Swift’s legal team, the attorney said Sweeney had “engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift’s legal rights,” according to the Post.

Tree Paine, a spokesperson for Swift, declined to comment to BI but told the Post: “His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be.”

Sweeney uses something called automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, or ADS-B, to broadcast an aircraft’s whereabouts online, which is publicly available information.

The tracking has prompted people such as Swift to sign up for the Federal Aviation Administration’s free privacy programs as a way to cloak their private planes by blocking the data from being shown on websites such as FlightAware and Flightradar24.

But because ADS-B data is not sourced from the FAA, planes can still be tracked — and Sweeney uses this loophole.

Swift has faced backlash for her private-jet travel, even topping a list of celebrities whose private planes emitted the most carbon in 2022. Last year, BI reported that the singer’s private jets spent more than 166 hours in flight during the initial US leg of her Eras tour.

Sweeney told BI he felt Swift’s team had sent the letter in response to “bad headlines for her about carbon emissions.” Swift’s spokesperson previously told BI the singer had purchased carbon credits to offset her jet use.

This isn’t the first time Sweeney has faced pushback from celebrities over his jet-tracking habits.

In early 2022, Elon Musk offered the college student $5,000 to delete his @elonjet account on social media, saying he was concerned the account would cause him to be “shot by a nutcase.” Mark Cuban also expressed similar concerns.

The rising popularity of jet-tracking on social media, however, prompted Musk to threaten legal action against Sweeney in 2022 after he said the aircraft-tracking account had led to an incident with his three-year-old son.

Musk took aim at Sweeney again on Tuesday.

Sweeney is an awful human being,” the billionaire wrote on X. “Taylor Swift is right to be concerned.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jerry David is a seasoned Senior Reporter specializing in consumer tech for BritishMags. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in the gadget arena, with a focus on major players like Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon, and Sony, among others. Jerry David is often found testing and playing with the newest tech innovations. His portfolio includes informative how-to guides, product comparisons, and top picks. Before joining BritishMags, Jerry David served as the Senior Editor for Technology and E-Commerce at The Arena Group. He also held the role of Tech and Electronics Editor at CNN Underscored, where he launched the Gadgets vertical. Jerry David tech journey began as an Associate Tech Writer at Mashable, and he later founded NJTechReviews in 2010. A proud native of New Jersey, Jerry David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Media & Communication with honors, minoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Muhlenberg College. Outside of work, he enjoys listening to Bruce Springsteen, indulging in Marvel and Star Wars content, and spending time with his family dogs, Georgia and Charlie.