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College student who tracks Taylor Swift’s private jet emissions has no plans to stop: ‘Empty legal threat’

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A college student who gained national attention for his social media account tracking the private jet trips of important people speaks to Fox News Digital about his determination to keep going despite strong warnings and harsh words from the likes of Taylor Swift and Elon. Ta. Musk.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Jack Sweeney, a junior at the University of Central Florida, began tracking the flights and locations of some jetliners based on publicly available information. Sweeney used flight data released by the Federal Aviation Administration to track the private jet flights of Swift, Musk, Mark Cuban, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and others.

In December, Ms. Swift’s lawyers sent Ms. Sweeney a cease-and-desist letter, accusing the automated tracking of Ms. Sweeney’s private jet of informing her stalker of her whereabouts, and saying the “timing of the stalker” affected Ms. Sweeney’s flight. He said it suggested a connection with a tracking site. Swift, who has dealt with stalkers throughout her career, is in the midst of the record-breaking “Ellas” concert tour that has propelled her to new heights of stardom.

Sweeney was also charged with “disregard for the personal safety of others.” “Intentional and repeated harassment.” and “deliberate, offensive, outrageous conduct, and consistent violation of client privacy.”

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Sweeney’s lawyer, Ethan Jacobs, said: “We don’t know what’s going on other than what we’ve heard, but the letter from Swift’s lawyers is a sign of public concern about the carbon footprint of her frequent private jet trips. “It arrived just after there was increased scrutiny on the matter,” he said. . “As we know, there is no specific threat to Ms. Swift’s safety if someone were to know when or where her jet landed.”

“The information that Mr. Sweeney publishes through his account allows the public to learn where interested celebrities are traveling, including carbon emissions from airplanes and other activities that generally benefit society. “It’s going to be difficult to know and be informed. Access is going to get worse for all of us,” he added.

Sweeney said he “just can’t believe” that he, as a college student, would be pursued by heavy hitters like Swift and his team. Swift has sometimes been criticized for her jet use and its impact on the environment, but her representatives say she has purchased more than twice as many “carbon credits” to offset that impact. Reported. washington post.

“There are a lot of people tracking planes, and I’m not the only one who’s aware of it,” Sweeney said.

jack sweeney and taylor swift

“It’s insane to send a letter like that when there are thousands of other people tracking her besides me. Do you want it to stop?” he added. “It’s kind of crazy because other people are going to do it anyway, and at the end of the day, it’s public information. I’m not doing anything illegal.”

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He uses publicly available transponder signals transmitted from airplanes, and says he and thousands of other aviation enthusiasts use transponder signals transmitted openly in the air from airplanes. Stated. This data is required by the FAA.

Sweeney said they simply made it easier for people to view this data by setting up automated data. social media accounts Track mileage, location, jet fuel, fuel costs, and CO2 emissions for every celebrity flight. Sweeney said anyone can do what they do, as long as people have the expertise and know what they are doing.

Mr. Jacobs argued that Mr. Sweeney had done nothing illegal, such as creating a social media account solely to republish public information, and that the threat was empty.

“The letter that Mr. Swift’s legal team sent to Mr. Sweeney appears to be some sort of hand-waving to suggest that his account is illegal,” he said. “But that’s only in the vaguest sense, because there is no law that prohibits the republication of publicly available flight information in Mr. Sweeney’s public account.”

Taylor Swift/Private Jet

A lawyer for a Florida college student who was tracking Taylor Swift’s private jet has defended his client’s right to post the pop star’s whereabouts. (Getty Images)

Sweeney was suspended. From Twitter, now X, in 2022 by owner Elon Musk, who said sharing real-time location information violates the platform’s terms of service and is dangerous to himself and his family. Sweeney’s account has since been restored.

“Sweeney is a terrible person.” Posted by mask “Taylor Swift is right to be worried.”

“They’re some of the greatest people in the world, and actually, I was a fan of Elon Musk at first, and now obviously he doesn’t really like me,” Sweeney said. “I can’t believe it.”

“I just want the facts and information to be recognized,” he added. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t or should use private jets. I just want to put information out there. I don’t want to force anyone’s opinion on anything.”

said Ryan Caro, a law professor at the University of Washington.Good morning, America“Earlier this month, he said he found no civil or criminal violations in Sweeney’s conduct.

Lawyer for Taylor Swift’s jet tracking student says client won’t ‘sit down’ even after star issues cease and desist order

Sweeney said he plans to continue his work because he believes this is important knowledge for people.

“We’re not going to tolerate someone with more power trying to hide that information from the public. The fact that they’re trying to hide information makes it even more important that we share transparency. Because I think so,” he said.

Jacobs said it’s common for wealthy people to assemble teams, including lawyers, to “push people around.”

Elon Musk

Elon Musk previously called Sweeney a “terrible human being.” (Getty Images)

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In a letter to Sweeney, Swift’s lawyers accused Swift of being “notorious for disregarding the personal safety of others in exchange for demands for public attention or financial gain.” Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Sweeney said they do not take lightly the question of whether that is the right thing to do.

In the letter, Ms. Swift’s team wrote, “We believe that your public disputes with other prominent figures, and your tactics in them, may only be used in exchange for something of value.” “We are aware that there are tactics such as offering to stop the harmful conduct of others.” “It may be a game to you, a way to hope for fortune and fame, but for the client it’s a matter of life and death.”

“While we cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation, we can confirm that the timing of the stalking suggests a connection,” Swift’s publicist Tree Payne told The Washington Post earlier this month. .You can tell from his posts exactly where she is and when.”

Jacobs said Sweeney was not made aware of any evidence that Sweeney’s account could help someone harm Swift. He added that even without a legal basis, such letters from powerful people like Swift can chill speech.

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Representatives for Swift and Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

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