Pop sensation Taylor Swift has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student, for his online tracking of her private jet and management of social media accounts that publish its flights. The letter, sent by Swift’s lawyer in December, accuses Sweeney of “stalking and harassing behavior,” prompting the threat of legal action.

Who is Jack Sweeny? 

Sweeney gained attention for his tracking of Elon Musk’s private jets before turning his focus to Swift’s aircraft. The notice from Swift’s legal team alleges that Sweeney’s activities have caused the singer to live in a “constant state of fear for her personal safety.” It also references Sweeney’s past disputes with high-profile individuals, including Elon Musk, regarding his jet-tracking accounts.

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Jack Sweeney, right (x/@stillgray)

In response to the cease-and-desist letter, Sweeney has defended his actions, stating that he curates the accounts for “transparency and public information.” He utilizes automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data, which is publicly available, to track aircraft whereabouts online.

Despite the legal threat from Swift’s team, Sweeney has received support from legal experts who assert that his actions constitute protected speech and do not violate Swift’s legal rights. James Slater, an attorney representing Sweeney, has deemed Swift’s letter “unfounded” and has pushed back against the accusations of harassment.

Swift’s private-jet tracking has drawn scrutiny in the past, particularly regarding its environmental impact. The singer has faced criticism for her carbon emissions, with her private jets ranking among the top emitters in 2022. In response to these concerns, Swift’s spokesperson has stated that she purchases carbon credits to offset her jet use.

This incident is not the first time Sweeney has faced backlash from celebrities over his jet-tracking activities. Elon Musk and Mark Cuban have previously expressed concerns and offered monetary incentives for Sweeney to cease his online tracking.

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As the dispute between Swift and Sweeney unfolds, it underscores broader questions about privacy, public information, and the boundaries of online tracking. Sweeney maintains that his intentions are not malicious and emphasizes the importance of transparency in tracking public figures’ movements.