Tracking Taylor Swift's jet

Her attorneys say the accounts are stalker tools. The student says the data is public and that "her team thinks they can control the world."

Tracking Taylor Swift's jet
A Taylor Swift show. (Photo by Chaz McGregor)

Full story: Taylor Swift threatens legal action against student who tracks her jet

I broke the news about Taylor Swift’s attorneys threatening legal action against a Florida college student who runs social media accounts tracking the flights of her and other celebrities’ private jets.

Sweeney’s accounts had caused Swift and her family “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress,” and had heightened her “constant state of fear for her personal safety,” the lawyer, Katie Wright Morrone, wrote, according to a copy of the letter sent to the home of Sweeney’s parents. Sweeney shared the letter with The Washington Post.

“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,” Morrone wrote. She added that there is “no legitimate interest in or public need for this information, other than to stalk, harass, and exert dominion and control.” ...

Sweeney, 21, told The Post that he saw the letter as an attempt to scare him away from sharing public data. The accounts offer only an incomplete sketch of which cities Swift might be in, similar to the public schedules for her concerts or any NFL games she might attend, he said. And the letters, he added, were sent to him at a time when she faced criticism over her flights’ environmental effects.

“This information is already out there,” he said. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”

Swift ultimately made it in time to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. A second jet was on standby in Tokyo, just in case.

Reactions from r/TaylorSwift

  • "I’m really disappointed, tbh. This is such a cruel move."
  • "Good luck suing someone for a public information"
  • "He isn't doing anything illegal."
  • "I love her music. But these are all just facts. We are fans...not members of a cult."

Read more

  • As a reporter, I've been using flight data to better understand public figures since I wrote a story tracking Elon Musk's jet in 2019.
  • In 2022, after Sweeney automated that data for a Twitter account called @ElonJet, Musk banned him and some journalists who covered it, including me.
  • I asked Musk about it during a brief, slightly weird Twitter Spaces shortly after.
  • I spoke with a Los Angeles police detective investigating the stalking incident Musk cited for the ban.

How Post journalists have used flight data

  • To track a former president's emergency landing (in 2022)
  • To map out how military helicopters flew over George Floyd protests (in 2020)
  • To investigate The Post's owner Jeff Bezos (in 2018)
  • To document extravagant trips on the taxpayer dime (in 2017)

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