Taylor Swift Threatens To Sue Student Over Private Jet Tracking

Taylor Swift Threatens To Sue Student Over Private Jet Tracking

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Taylor Swift’s legal team is threatening to sue a Florida student who has made quite the name for himself by sharing publicly available information about the location of celebrity private jets.

Taylor Swift sends cease-and-desist to Jack Sweeney

For some background, Jack Sweeney got some attention roughly two years ago, when he was sharing the location of Elon Musk’s private jet. Musk ended up offering the teen $5,000 to stop tracking his jet, and some might argue that this tracking played into Musk’s decision to buy Twitter/X (as he then changed the rules around sharing the “live” location of people).

Since then, Sweeney has continued to track movements of private jets belonging to celebrities, and has shared those details on a variety of platforms. He has even done comparisons of the carbon footprints of the private jets of various celebrities.

Sweeney’s behavior isn’t sitting too well with Taylor Swift’s legal team, who has now sent Sweeney a cease-and-desist, and this seems to be escalating. The timing of this is interesting, as the letter was sent around the same time that Taylor Swift was reported as one of the celebrities with the highest carbon footprint.

In December 2023, attorneys for Swift accused Sweeney of engaging in “stalking and harassing behavior” by tracking the superstar’s jet, and stated that there was “no legitimate interest in or public need for this information, other than to stalk, harass, and exert dominion and control.” The letter continued that “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.”

This threat came after a report suggested that Swift had one of the highest carbon footprints of any celebrity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if on some level that factored into Swift’s legal team not wanting the plane tracked. Ironically, at the time a spokesperson for Swift stated that she often loans her private jet to others, which contradicts the claim that tracking the jet would “tell you exactly when and where she would be.”

For what it’s worth, Swift has historically had two private jets, including a 1991 Dassault Falcon 900 with the registration code N898TS, and a Dassault Falcon 7X with the registration code N621MM. It seems that the former was recently sold, so she’s now flying the latter.

A lawyer representing Sweeney doesn’t seem terribly concerned about the threat of legal actions, and had the following to say regarding this incident:

“This isn’t about putting a GPS tracker on someone and invading their privacy. It’s using public information to track the jet of a public figure. This is their means to try to quash a PR issue and bully my client to have the bad coverage die down.”

Meanwhile Musk has come to Swift’s defense, labeling Sweeney as “an awful human being.” Lol…

Sweeney is right, Swift is wrong…

Let me say that I completely understand that Swift would have safety concerns, and that she has stalkers. That’s all completely reasonable, and based in reality, and she and her team need to take precautions to keep her safe (which I’m sure they do).

However, Sweeney is doing absolutely nothing here:

  • He’s sharing publicly available data
  • He’s not specifically targeting her, but rather he shares this kind of information for all kinds of celebrities
  • As Swift’s own representatives have acknowledged, her private jet often flies without her, so tracking the plane often doesn’t even tell you where she is
  • In terms of safety, we know all the time where she’s going to be, from her concert schedule, to sports games, to award shows, so it’s not like her location is really a secret

I obviously get that her legal team would want to prevent this as much as possible, both from a safety and a publicity perspective (in terms of emissions from her jet). But this amounts to bullying more than anything else, because they assume that because she has deep pockets, they can prevent someone from doing something that’s perfectly legal. That’s not how that works.

Bottom line

Taylor Swift’s legal team is threatening to sue a Florida student who uses publicly available data to track private jets belonging to celebrities. While I can appreciate that Swift probably doesn’t want her location tracked and while there are legitimate safety concerns, Sweeney is also within his legal rights. He’s not specifically targeting Swift, and it’s not like her location is secret, as she has all kinds of appearances that are published in advance.

What do you make of this Taylor Swift private jet situation?

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  1. Stone Pony Guest

    Since any person can take their cell phone and video or photograph anyone else and it's legal, just get over all this crap. It's just a waste of time and life.

  2. iamhere Guest

    If he’s doing it for a large number of people at one time then it could be argued she’s not being targeted

  3. EK_engineer Guest

    Come back Jessica Simpson! All is forgiven!!

  4. FlyerDon Guest

    I don’t believe this kind of information was available until ADS-B came along. So before it was could I call up LA Center and ask where Elvis’s plane was? I’m not sure that just because ADS-B made this information accessible means that the public is entitled to it. If you extrapolate the idea that all government information should be accessible by the public then I should be able to call up the TSA and ask...

    I don’t believe this kind of information was available until ADS-B came along. So before it was could I call up LA Center and ask where Elvis’s plane was? I’m not sure that just because ADS-B made this information accessible means that the public is entitled to it. If you extrapolate the idea that all government information should be accessible by the public then I should be able to call up the TSA and ask them where is Ben off to today. He might not care but others certainly will.

  5. Malc Diamond

    The strange capitalization in legal writing has always puzzled me. Why would "Client" need to be capitalized? I wonder if British legal writing contains so many odd capitalizations.

    1. Mike Guest

      Hi Malc.
      I had the same question and now I have the answer.
      In legal papers there is a difference between "client" and "Client". The former has the same meaning as in any general correspondence - just any client.
      The "Client" form refers to something that was mention earlier and is in relation to a specific client. In other words, at some point, usually the beginning of the document, they said something...

      Hi Malc.
      I had the same question and now I have the answer.
      In legal papers there is a difference between "client" and "Client". The former has the same meaning as in any general correspondence - just any client.
      The "Client" form refers to something that was mention earlier and is in relation to a specific client. In other words, at some point, usually the beginning of the document, they said something like "... Taylor Swift (Client)..." and from that point on, they can use "Client" instead of naming her. Sounds awkward I know, but it makes perfect sense, especially in cases where there are multiple parties, sometimes with very similar names.

  6. Rogern Guest

    Who is Taylor Swift?

  7. Syd Guest

    How do I send a cease and desist notice to Taylor Swift? I only read financial media and I still hear her name at least once daily - I'd rather not hear it ever, and I say it as someone who likes some of her old stuff.

  8. julian zentner Guest

    Yeah.Right.While politicians,government officials,presidents,air forces all fly around the world every day while telling everyone we have to reduce our carbon footprint.Such a bunch of hypocrites.Who cares.We will all be dead before it affects us so stop moaning and just let people get on with their lives.

  9. Ivan Guest

    Taylor Swift needs to hire some new lawyers. First of she's not winning this case and more importantly this will bring was more traffic to Sweenies sight.

    Not that I give a FF but apparently she will be in Japan and flying to Vegas for the super bowl so here comings and goings aren't secret.

    It could be related to coverage of her carbon footprint but this response is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.

  10. Mason Guest

    Elon Musk private jet tracking scandal 2.0

  11. iflyfar Guest

    She should focus on the fact that she is a mouth breather.

  12. Grey Diamond

    I used to like Taylor Swift's songs, but after she took her music off of Spotify because she didn't think poor people deserved to listen to her music, I really couldn't understand why people would still like her. The fact that she has the carbon footprint of a small village is also hardly commendable.

  13. Ripty Guest

    There's a big difference between something being unethical or a bad person and something being illegal. What he's doing may be unethical as he could definitely inspire some crazy people to do something with the information he's gathering but it's clearly legal as public information.

    1. henare Diamond

      "He" is the dude doing the tracking.

  14. Matt Guest

    Seems like Swift should just register ownership of her jets better next time...

  15. NedsKid Diamond

    I think "exert dominion" is the phrase of the day. I shall use it once in every work call I have today.

    It's not like the guy invented software to track people, right? He's using publicly available data sources?

  16. Chas Guest

    Barbara Streisand effect in full force here. I had no idea who this kid was before her legal team got involved and now I do!

    1. DCWABN Guest

      I believe he's being represented by a team that has been paid for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF: https://www.eff.org/). They've been championing a free internet for a while now. I have a few friends that worked for them about 10-15 years ago.

      Tay Tay and her team are accustomed to threatening lawsuits and having people comply because she has money (see: Olivia Rodrigo). That's it. A C&D doesn't mean a damned thing, legally, and...

      I believe he's being represented by a team that has been paid for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF: https://www.eff.org/). They've been championing a free internet for a while now. I have a few friends that worked for them about 10-15 years ago.

      Tay Tay and her team are accustomed to threatening lawsuits and having people comply because she has money (see: Olivia Rodrigo). That's it. A C&D doesn't mean a damned thing, legally, and EFF is all over crazy bullshit claims people have about the internet. I'd love to see TS and her team get completely obliterated if they DO try to sue. I think theres some anti-SLAPP potential, too, against Taylor and her team given that she's done this a couple of times. That would be the icing on the cake.

  17. Frank Guest

    Typical hypocrite lib. Swift is gross.

  18. frrp Diamond

    Most irritating in the entertainment industry award goes to...

  19. Matt Guest

    Since you're repeatedly misspelling 'Sweenie' it's pretty clear how you feel about what he's doing. You misspell it while embedding his correctly spelled Twitter posts...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Matt -- The typo was an honest mistake and has been fixed, I apologize. And I'm defending him here, so I'm not sure what you're suggesting about how I feel about him? You think I misspelled his name because I don't like him?

  20. Alonzo Diamond

    There's no such thing as a "right to privacy" folks. The truth of the matter is, if he doesn't track celebrity jets, someone besides the FAA will.

    The actual reason he's doing this imo is to show carbon footprint. Especially for the folks like Gates who preach having less carbon footprint than they actually do. Just a thought.

  21. John Guest

    Sweeney tracking down a ditsy purveyor of sugary teen pop music is not journalism. It's called 'a waste of time'.

  22. JK Guest

    The CEO of LVMH Group in Paris, Bernard Arnault sold his private jet due to the same type of tracking and now uses Vistajet in order to avoid being tracked. He doesn't care about the flex of having his own PJ but he doesn't want his competitors to be able to speculate about the deals he is making based on where he is (likely) conducting business. Taylor could do this, but of course it would be annoying.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JK -- Yeah, that's a great point!

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Yeah, but are sure it's about speculating a deal rather than about paying alimony.

    3. FlyerDon Guest

      Actually she flew to Tokyo on VistaJet.

  23. eightblack Guest

    Ben, you might think differently if the shoe was on the other foot. TS has a right to privacy just like everyone else.

    How would you feel if someone started posting publicly available information about your husband and your young son.

    While Sweenie might not be doing anything illegal, what is his motive? Is it right?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ eightblack -- You're absolutely right I wouldn't like it, and as I acknowledged, I don't blame her for not liking it. But I also know that me not liking something doesn't make it illegal.

      You say that "TS has a right to privacy just like everyone else." But that's the thing, at least in the United States, we don't really have a right to privacy. Anyone can legally stick a camera in our face...

      @ eightblack -- You're absolutely right I wouldn't like it, and as I acknowledged, I don't blame her for not liking it. But I also know that me not liking something doesn't make it illegal.

      You say that "TS has a right to privacy just like everyone else." But that's the thing, at least in the United States, we don't really have a right to privacy. Anyone can legally stick a camera in our face in public, and can track the tail numbers of aircraft. So you're right, she does have the same right to privacy as everyone else, and that's not much...

      As far as what his motive is, I'm not sure it really matters? Maybe he's doing it for attention. Maybe he wants to bring attention to the carbon footprint of celebrities. But he's definitely not targeting her specifically.

      Look, let me be very clear -- I'm not suggesting Sweenie is some hero, and that he's doing God's work here. Rather, I'm just saying that he's doing something he's legally allowed to do, whether anyone likes it or not. And trying to baselessly sue someone for doing something legal just because you have deep pockets isn't really cool.

    2. DCWABN Guest

      Taylor doesn't like that she's being called to task for being a hypocrite. That's it. If Taylor Swift were TRULY that concerned about "privacy", she wouldn't be taking pap-walks weekly, using the front doors of restaurants/stores consistently so paps can see her (when many of the venues she frequents have private entrances specifically for celebrity customers), jetting to every KC Chiefs game, etc.

      There's a LONG list of instances where her publicist has made Taylor...

      Taylor doesn't like that she's being called to task for being a hypocrite. That's it. If Taylor Swift were TRULY that concerned about "privacy", she wouldn't be taking pap-walks weekly, using the front doors of restaurants/stores consistently so paps can see her (when many of the venues she frequents have private entrances specifically for celebrity customers), jetting to every KC Chiefs game, etc.

      There's a LONG list of instances where her publicist has made Taylor VERY present on purpose. And that's what publicists do. So to now claim that Taylor is wanting privacy is despite all her many, many actions to the contrary - both current and past - will get laughed out of court. Her legal team knows they will so they're hoping to scare the kid first because no judge - let a jury - would believe that she's truly concerned for her privacy.

    3. AD123 New Member

      I think she is more concerned to be hurt by a militant environmentalist than for someone to know her current location.

    1. hbilbao Guest

      So true. Almost as awful as tech moguls.

    2. Icarus Guest

      Not all. You can’t generalise. However I cannot stand all these wannabe influencers, real housewives of .. and Kardashians versus Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

    3. evilpoodle Member

      The Kardashians vs Judi Dench and Maggie Smith? Sounds like a show I would watch.

  24. SINJim Guest

    The first amendment protects Sweenie's free speech. One could even postulate that Sweenie is a type of modern journalist.

    1. Michael Guest

      This has nothing to do with first amendment. Yes, he has the right to free speech, but first amendment applies to the government censuring that speech. There is no government involved here. In fact, the FAA is giving him information under FOI rules when requested. This is a private individual bullying another, and a matter for the courts. First amendment rights have nothing to do with this case.

    2. kensingtonsd New Member

      The FAA, NTSB and our air traffic controllers are all funded by tax dollars. Therefore, the information is publicly accessible. TS uses these services just as does anyone who flies on an airplane. If you had a civil or criminal case in court, had a documented recorded in your county (eg a home purchase), anyone can access that information and publish it. You can label it anything you like (bullying/harassment) but it doesn’t change the...

      The FAA, NTSB and our air traffic controllers are all funded by tax dollars. Therefore, the information is publicly accessible. TS uses these services just as does anyone who flies on an airplane. If you had a civil or criminal case in court, had a documented recorded in your county (eg a home purchase), anyone can access that information and publish it. You can label it anything you like (bullying/harassment) but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s perfectly legal. Why does she deserve special protection just because she has money? No expectation of privacy in public.

    3. Ivan Guest

      Not a first amendment issue but yeah Taylor Swift is bullying this guy for curating public information. It's a frivolous lawsuit she'll end up losing.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Matt -- The typo was an honest mistake and has been fixed, I apologize. And I'm defending him here, so I'm not sure what you're suggesting about how I feel about him? You think I misspelled his name because I don't like him?

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Eskimo Guest

Kanye West

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DCWABN Guest

Taylor doesn't like that she's being called to task for being a hypocrite. That's it. If Taylor Swift were TRULY that concerned about "privacy", she wouldn't be taking pap-walks weekly, using the front doors of restaurants/stores consistently so paps can see her (when many of the venues she frequents have private entrances specifically for celebrity customers), jetting to every KC Chiefs game, etc. There's a LONG list of instances where her publicist has made Taylor VERY present on purpose. And that's what publicists do. So to now claim that Taylor is wanting privacy is despite all her many, many actions to the contrary - both current and past - will get laughed out of court. Her legal team knows they will so they're hoping to scare the kid first because no judge - let a jury - would believe that she's truly concerned for her privacy.

4
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