Lawyers for pop star Taylor Swift have threatened legal action against a college student who uses publicly available data to track celebrities’ private jets.
Jack Sweeney, who is currently a junior at the University of Central Florida, received a cease-and-desist letter in December from Swift’s legal counsel. In the letter, as first reported by the Washington Post, Swift’s lawyers argued that the student’s actions have caused “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress.”
On multiple social media accounts, Sweeney showcases data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration that details not only when jets land and take off, but how much greenhouse gas is emitted during their flights.
Sweeney made a name for himself in late 2022 when he was banned from Twitter, now known as X, after his account detailed the movements of Elon Musk’s jet. The billionaire, who took over the platform that same year, accused the student of posting his “exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates.”
The student, who continues to share flight data on other social media websites, added that the letter from Swift’s legal team further described his actions as “stalking and harassing behavior.”
Other celebrity jets tracked by Sweeney include those belonging to Kim Kardashian, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. Sweeney currently runs his tracking accounts on sites such as Reddit, BlueSky, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, and Mastodon.
Although the student still runs multiple accounts on X, those accounts do not provide real-time tracking information and instead show data delayed by 24 hours.
While some have criticized the efforts, others believe it highlights the rampant use of private jets by celebrities, which contributes to global emissions levels.
“I think it’s important to note that no where do I intend for harm,” Sweeney told the Verge. “I actually think Swift has some good songs. I believe in transparency and public information.”
It remains unclear whether the legal threats from Swift’s team will have any effect.