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Taylor Swift issues cease-and-desist to student tracking her jet

A Florida college student has been tracking the pop star's private jet fleet across social media, sharing takeoff, landing, and other information.
Taylor Swift issues cease-and-desist to student tracking her jet
Posted at 1:20 PM, Feb 07, 2024

A college student in Florida is in jeopardy of being sued by Taylor Swift. 

The pop star's lawyer issued a cease-and-desist order to Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida student who runs @taylorswiftjets and other social media accounts tracking celebrities’ private jets.

The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent to Sweeney in December by Swift’s attorney from the law firm Venable, who wrote that the singer would "have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies" if Sweeney did not stop tracking her flights.

"Because the offending Accounts share 'live' updates on her destination and the exact time our client will arrive at a given location, you essentially provide individuals intent on physically harming her, or with nefarious or violent intentions, a roadmap to carry out their plans," Swift’s lawyer Katie Morrone said in the letter.

The order said Sweeney’s "stalking and harassing behavior" puts Swift’s safety at risk and enables stalkers. This comes as the pop star continues to deal with people showing up at her residences and attempting break-ins — including some with weapons and ammunition in attempts to harm her.

The letter said Sweeney’s accounts caused Swift and her family "direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress," and heightened her "constant state of fear for her personal safety."

"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," the attorney wrote.

SEE MORE: Man arrested outside Taylor Swift's home after attempting to break in

In a statement to ABC News, Sweeney said his accounts were taken down by Meta, which owns Instagram and Threads. The 21-year-old defended his actions, saying he was merely using publicly available information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Sweeney also told NBC News he was all about "transparency and public information," and that he had nothing to apologize for.

"I think it’s important to note that nowhere do I intend for harm. I simply share the facts," he told NBC. "I actually think Swift has some good songs."

The college junior has for years used public data to share takeoff and landing information of jets owned by celebs, billionaires, Russian oligarchs, politicians and others in the public eye. He also shares information on emissions and expenses for each trip.

This isn’t the first time Sweeney’s habits have caused a stir.

In 2022, Sweeney was banned from Twitter, now X, when Elon Musk took over the company. For two years, Sweeney ran an account called @ElonJet on the platform, which grew an audience of over 530,000 followers, where he tracked the billionaire’s private jet. Musk called out Sweeney for sharing what he referred to as his “assassination coordinates," according to The Post.

Similar to what happened with Musk, Swift’s cease-and-desist order renewed the debate about free speech.

Sweeney’s lawyer James Slater, who specializes in free speech issues, told NBC that Swift and other jet owners do not have the legal authority to block public information.

"There is no claim, there’s no claim to just publicizing public information," said Slater. "And in Ms. Swift’s lawyers’ letter, they didn’t address any real claims."

Slater also addressed the allegations that Sweeney was stalking the pop star.

"In the letters, they accused my client of stalking Ms. Swift. Stalking? He’s not following her; he’s not a paparazzo scoping her outside a nightclub. He’s on a computer tracking publicly accessible information," he said. 

This all comes as Swift is about to embark on perhaps one of the most publicly watched private jet journeys, amid speculation she will fly from her Eras Tour show in Tokyo Saturday to make it to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas Sunday for NFL boyfriend Travis Kelce’s big game.

SEE MORE: Can Taylor Swift make it to the Super Bowl from Tokyo in time?

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