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Taylor Swift launches legal broadside at a college student who tracks private jets via public data

Taylor Swift has recently taken legal action against a Florida college student named Jack Sweeney. Sweeney has been using publicly available data and social media platforms to track the private jets of various high-profile individuals, including celebrities and politicians.

In late December, Swift’s legal team sent Sweeney a cease-and-desist letter, alleging that his tracking activities posed a safety risk by potentially disclosing Swift’s location to individuals with malicious intent. The letter, issued by the law firm Venable, accused Sweeney of providing a “roadmap” for potential stalkers to carry out harmful actions.

Sweeney, a junior studying information technology at the University of Central Florida, defended his actions, stating that he never intended to cause harm and believes in transparency and public access to information. He argued that tracking private jets is a common practice and that the data he uses is publicly available.

Swift’s spokesperson supported the legal complaint, suggesting a correlation between Sweeney’s flight-tracking activities and instances of stalking. However, no clear evidence was provided to substantiate this claim.

The cease-and-desist letter also accused Sweeney of harassment and privacy violations, despite the fact that he is simply repackaging publicly available data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It demanded that Sweeney cease providing information about Swift’s whereabouts to the public.

Sweeney’s flight-tracking accounts, which were previously active on Twitter, are now hosted on X, formerly known as Twitter, after Elon Musk acquired the platform. Musk, who had his own dispute with Sweeney, cited his commitment to free speech as a reason for not banning Sweeney’s account, despite considering it a safety risk.

The legal battle between Swift and Sweeney raises important questions about privacy, public data, and online tracking in the digital age.

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