Florida university student Jack Sweeney has gained notoriety for tracking the private planes of the rich and powerful, including their carbon emissions. Despite facing legal threats, Sweeney believes that the public should have access to this information. The 21-year-old, who grew up with an interest in aviation and technology, has developed a plane tracking website and social media accounts that monitor the aircraft of celebrities, politicians, and tycoons using publicly available data.
Sweeney’s activities have raised privacy concerns, with singer Taylor Swift arguing that revealing her plane’s location puts her at risk from stalkers. However, Sweeney counters that there is a public interest in this information, pointing to the popularity of his tracking accounts among Swift’s fans. He also suggests that if privacy is a concern, celebrities could register their private jets through anonymous corporate entities.
Sweeney’s lawyer, James Slater, argues that Sweeney is not doing anything illegal. Despite facing pressure from powerful figures like Swift and Elon Musk, Sweeney continues to run his tracking accounts, albeit with some modifications to comply with social media rules.