The singer has threatened to sue a student for sharing the take-off and landing details of her private jet. But the information is already publicly available, and so it should be.
After student Jack Sweeney began sharing the whereabouts and routes of celebrity private jets online, he established a dedicated following. His audience were united by one thing; their hatred of unnecessarily short private flights, taken by the world’s ultra-rich at the expense of the environment.
Then, Taylor Swift threatened Sweeney with legal action. Given the information he’s sharing is already publicly available through the Federal Aviation Administration, it was inevitable his following – and the wider internet community – would fire at Swift with both barrels.
According to her attorneys, Sweeney’s actions were causing Swift anxiety and creating a ‘life-or-death’ situation for the singer. But while privacy is undoubtedly a human right – and one which shouldn’t be revoked once a person becomes famous – the environmental impact of grotesque wealth is, fundamentally, a ‘life-or-death’ situation for us all.
Crucially, Sweeney has been sharing the take-off and landing coordinates of Swift’s jet over 24-hours after the fact, making her lawyers’ safety argument relatively redundant. In an era of pervasive surveillance and heightened security measures, the notion that disclosing flight details poses an imminent threat to the singer’s well-being is dubious at best.
Arguably, increased scrutiny could, in fact, bolster security measures and foster a culture of accountability. But this isn’t the first time Jack Sweeney’s faced legal threats over privacy concerns.
In late 2022, Sweeney was banned from X by CEO Elon Musk, after the billionaire claimed he was sharing Musk’s ‘assassination coordinates’. Like Swift, Musk ostensibly saw Sweeney’s jet-tracking as a health and safety nightmare. But his attorney’s failed to bring any charges.
The online response to Swift’s legal confrontation with Sweeney has thrown her motives into question. On X, users have reshared some of the alleged routes taken by Swift’s jet, with some of the shortest lasting around fourteen minutes (equivalent to a thirty minute car journey).
While some have argued these journeys were taken after Swift sold one of her aircrafts, the posts have triggered a conversation around the largely unnecessary use of private jet’s by billionaires – and the astonishing amount of money and emissions involved.