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Flight-spotting student Jack Sweeney angers Taylor Swift and Elon Musk


A university student hailing from Florida has developed a consistent pattern of provoking and irritating some of the planet's wealthiest and most influential individuals. By what means? By disclosing the locations of their private aircraft and the corresponding carbon emissions.

Jack Sweeney seeks to elucidate certain particulars. Firstly, he believes that Taylor Swift possesses commendable musical compositions.

Nevertheless, he maintains the belief that, regardless of the potential legal consequences, it should be permissible for anyone to access information regarding the destination and frequency of her private aircraft.

"I have a preference for fairness," Jack Sweeney conveyed via email. "I make an effort to disseminate information from all individuals, regardless of their identity."

However, the precise details regarding the whereabouts of affluent and influential individuals' private aircraft, which the 21-year-old has consistently shared on his social media platforms, have consistently attracted media attention and legal repercussions.

Mr Sweeney hails from a family where his father works as an airline maintenance operations controller, and his mother is a teacher. He spent his childhood in the suburbs of Orlando. He is fascinated with aviation and technology, focusing on Elon Musk's SpaceX and Tesla enterprises.

His burgeoning interests eventually prompted him to create a website called and social media accounts dedicated to monitoring the movements of aeroplanes belonging to celebrities, politicians, tycoons, and Russian oligarchs.

The system is dependent on publicly accessible data gathered by non-professional enthusiasts. Aircraft in the atmosphere consistently transmit location data, which individuals can detect by using affordable ground-based receivers.

This flourishing group of internet-based aircraft monitors is a subset of the broader Osint (open-source intelligence) community, consisting of individuals who meticulously examine vast amounts of readily accessible online data in search of damning, enlightening, or simply captivating pieces of information. The group consists of diverse individuals, from those with a casual interest to devoted researchers and dedicated investigative journalists.

"Initially, I pursued this activity as a mere pastime due to my fascination with it," stated Mr. Sweeney, presently in his third year of pursuing a degree in information technology at the University of Central Florida.

Over time, he has discovered a more precise and more distinct purpose. He expresses his belief in the significance of transparency and the dissemination of public information.

Furthermore, an environmental aspect is important: "The flyers are attempting to conceal the negative public relations associated with [carbon] emissions."

His data has been utilised in studies demonstrating the substantial carbon footprint of Ms Swift and her entourage. The vocalist claims to have purchased ample carbon offsets to completely neutralise the emissions generated by her most recent concert tour, surpassing the required amount by two-fold.

However, there are also privacy concerns that need to be considered. Ms. Swift, as asserted by her legal representatives, argues that disclosing the whereabouts of her aircraft exposes her to potential harm from individuals who obsessively pursue her.

In a letter initially disclosed by the Washington Post, the singer's attorneys expressed that monitoring the aircraft was of the utmost importance and that there is no valid justification or public necessity for this data except to pursue, torment, and assert authority and dominance.

Mr Sweeney refutes those claims and asserts that there is a crucial public interest in determining the whereabouts of the pop star's aircraft. What evidence does he present to support his claim? The fans of Taylor Swift themselves.

"The individuals who have established the Taylor Swift Jets accounts and subreddit are the ones who are genuinely interested," he states. "These tracking accounts consistently have a higher number of supporters and fans [compared to detractors]."

With her extensive global tours and frequent public engagements, such as her recent appearances at prominent NFL games, it is typically relatively straightforward to anticipate Ms. Swift's future whereabouts.

During the past two weeks, several articles have been published explaining the logistics of her travel between two important events - her Saturday night performance in Tokyo and the Super Bowl on Sunday in Las Vegas.

A significant portion of this publicly available information is more detailed and specific than just the whereabouts of an aircraft. Flight data can provide information about the aircraft's ownership and location in the sky. However, it does not reveal the identities of the individuals on board or their subsequent travel destinations upon landing.

However, Ms. Swift's representatives assert that the plane data provides precise details regarding the timing and locations of her activities. They also highlight that a purported stalker was recently apprehended outside her residence in New York. In a statement, her publicist, Tree Paine, conveyed that his posts provided precise information about the specific time and location of her whereabouts.

Mr. Sweeney also offered guidance to the celebrity, delicately proposing that safeguarding her privacy is her utmost priority; she could opt to register her aircraft under an undisclosed corporate entity and consider selecting an identification code that does not incorporate her birthdate and initials.

According to James Slater, the attorney representing Mr. Sweeney, Ms. Swift is unlikely to pursue additional legal measures.

"The letter was an endeavour to intimidate Jack into engaging in an action that he is not legally obligated to perform," he stated. "Regrettably, individuals in positions of influence and wealth frequently engage in such behaviour. "He is not engaging in any illegal activities."

No response was received from Ms. Swift's legal representatives regarding the comment request.

An inquiry arises as to whether the Swift fandom will continue to adhere to Mr Sweeney's accounts in light of the most recent developments.

Following the public disclosure of the legal letter, there was a rapid and extensive exchange of discussions and comments on the internet regarding the case. The text contained both expressions of support for Mr. Sweeney and derogatory sentiments, such as the statement: "Jack Sweeney desires for Taylor Swift to meet the same fate as Princess Diana." I am determined to persist in this matter. I am experiencing intense anger.

However, Mr. Sweeney has previously faced pressure from affluent and well-known individuals.

Upon acquiring Twitter (now X) in 2022, Elon Musk solemnly committed to upholding the principle of free speech by refraining from taking any measures against Mr Sweeney's tracking account.

Within a few weeks, Mr Musk changed his decision, prohibited the account, and issued a legal threat, alleging that led to a stalker locating him and trespassing on his vehicle while his young child was present.

Subsequently, law enforcement authorities identified a member of Mr. Musk's security team as a suspect and clarified that Mr. Sweeney's account was unrelated to the incident.

Mr. Sweeney currently manages an account that monitors the whereabouts of Mr. Musk's aircraft with a 24-hour delay to adhere to a website regulation that prohibits real-time location monitoring.

In addition, he manages social media accounts that monitor the aircraft owned by Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump, and others.

However, he voiced his dissatisfaction with the unpredictable nature of social media regulations, highlighting that Meta has suspended the Facebook and Instagram accounts that monitor Ms. Swift's plane while allowing other plane tracking accounts to remain active - including those that track Mr. Zuckerberg's aircraft.

Concurrently, the individuals who engage in conversations about plane spotting on Mr Sweeney's server on the Discord platform have supported his position while expressing their passion for their hobby. Furthermore, specific individuals acknowledged that they, too, are enthusiasts of Ms. Swift.

"I am certain that mentally unstable individuals have sent her extremely alarming messages," stated one commentator, "however, the airport is not the location where she is susceptible."

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