Please Stop Tracking My Flights, Elon Musk Tells Tech-Savvy Teen

It's a little unsettling what you can find in flight data

Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City.
Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City.
Getty Images for TIME

Have you ever checked on a friend or family member’s flight online to make sure that they were still set to arrive at their destination on time? There’s an abundance of information made publicly available, and while this largely applies to commercial air travel, there’s also data on private jets that can be unearthed. Some tech-savvy people have made use of this data for various purposes — it comes up a lot during soccer’s international transfer windows, for instance, to track players who might be on a chartered flight from one country to another.

But it’s also been used to track down other celebrities — most notably, Elon Musk. Over 129,000 people follow the Twitter account @ElonJet, which keeps tabs on the movements of Elon Musk’s private plane using data from the website ADS-B Exchange. And, as it turns out, Musk isn’t terribly thrilled with the idea of thousands of people being able to access his every move. Which is understandable.

The account is the brainchild of Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old student at the University of Central Florida. And, as Autoblog reports, Musk has taken steps to shut the account down. This includes both diplomacy and more hostile measures, such as using technology to try to keep the data out of Sweeney’s hands.

Musk also offered Sweeney $5,000 to shut down the account. Sweeney, however, has asked for a Tesla Model 3 in exchange for the account going dark — and he responded to Musk’s offer of five grand with a counteroffer of 10 times that figure. The article notes that Sweeney’s most recent request might be amenable to both parties: he’d like an internship.

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