Taylor Swift’s lawyers are threatening an account that tracks the use of different private jets using public data.
Taylor Swift’s lawyers have sent a demand letter to a student who uses public flight data to track private jet usage, suggesting her social media accounts were aiding Swift’s harassers and threatening her safety.
As reported by Washington Post, the letter was sent to Jack Sweeney, the same programmer and University of Florida student briefly suspended from Twitter in December 2022 after his account angered Elon Musk. At the time, Elon Musk called plane tracking “a doxxing ” and compared the sharing of this flight information (which, again, comes from publicly available Federal Aviation Administration data) to the provision of its “ assassination coordinates “.
(Sweeney was eventually able to relaunch his flight tracking account on
Swift’s lawyers, from the Venable Firm, also cited security concerns in the letter they sent to Sweeney last December. They threatened to take legal action if Sweeney did not end his ” stalking and harassment behavior ” and accused the account of causing Swift and her family “ direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress “.
The letter also states that there is ” no legitimate interest or public need for this information other than to stalk, harass, and exercise dominance and control “.
Furthermore, the letter appears to make a nod to the altercation between Sweeney and Musk, while emphasizing the security concerns at the heart of the complaint. “ We are aware of your public disputes with other high-profile individuals and your tactics in these interactions, including offering to stop your harmful behavior only in exchange for items of valuewe can read. While this may be a game to you, or a path that you hope will bring you wealth or fame, it is a matter of life and death for our client. Ms. Swift dealt with stalkers and others who meant her harm. »
(Specifically, Swift’s lawyers appear to be referring to Musk’s offer to pay Sweeney $5,000 to close his account. As the site reported Protocol, now deceased, Sweeney replied: “ Any chance of increasing that to $50,000? This would be a great support for college and maybe allow me to buy a car, maybe even a Model 3 “).
Swift spokesperson Tree Paine even made a rare statement about the alleged connection between Swift’s harassers and the information available on Sweeney’s account. “ We cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation, but we can confirm that the stalkers’ timeline suggests a linkshe said. Her messages indicate exactly when and where she would be. »
Sweeney has defended his work, ensuring that the information he shares is indistinguishable from other forms of publicly available data documenting, generally, the city or country where Taylor Swift might be located, such as the itinerary of his tour or even the schedule of the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL. “ This information is already availabledid he declare. Her team thinks they can control the world. »
A lawyer acting on behalf of Mr Sweeney, James Slater, also responded to the demand letter. He claimed that Swift’s team had not identified any legal grounds against Sweeney, although she said his actions were ” in violation of several state laws » without specifying any. Mr. Slater also claimed that Mr. Sweeney’s account was “ engaged in protected speech that does not violate any of Ms. Swift’s legal rights “.
In a statement, Mr Slater added: “ This is not about putting a GPS tracker on someone and invading their privacy. This involves using public information to follow the career of a public figure. This is a way for them to try to cover up a miscommunication and intimidate my client into making the bad publicity go away. »
It appears Sweeney received the letter around the time her Instagram account @TaylorSwiftJets shared a post estimating the carbon footprint left by Swift’s travel related to her Eras tour and her relationship with Travis Kelce (138 tons of CO2 emissions in three months). Shortly after these posts, Sweeney’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, which specialize in tracking Swift’s flights, were suspended for violating those sites’ privacy rules. Oddly enough, the accounts he maintains on these same platforms to follow the jets of other celebrities and public figures (including Donald Trump, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian and even Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Instagram and Facebook) remain active.
The post from @TaylorSwiftJets reignited criticism over the use of Swift’s private jet. In August 2022, sustainable marketing company Yard used public flight data to rank the celebrities whose private jets had flown the most that year and therefore released the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Swift topped the list.
At the time, a spokesperson for the singer argued that her jet was often loaned to other people and said: ” It is completely incorrect to attribute most or all of these trips to him “. Others have also questioned the study’s methodology and accuracy.
As for the most recent criticism, Mr Paine said that before her latest tour, Taylor Swift purchased more than twice as many carbon credits to offset the climate impact of her travels. However, doubts remain about the effectiveness of carbon offsets in the fight against climate change.