Taylor Swift's legal team has demanded that a college student who tracks her private jet stop, citing concerns for her personal safety.
University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney, who claims to use publicly available information to monitor Swift and other celebrities' private jets and shares their locations on social media, revealed to NBC News that he received a cease and desist letter from the pop star's attorneys.
According to the letter, initially reported by The Washington Post, Swift's legal team asserts that the singer will "have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies" if he does not cease his "stalking and harassing behavior."
How was Sweeney tracking Swift's jet?
Sweeney, who has operated under several social media handles across various platforms, claims to utilize publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration to track the jets of various celebrities.
According to The Washington Post, Sweeney's accounts also rely on information from volunteer hobbyists who can track aircraft via signals broadcast. Individuals on the ground can detect planes flying overhead by capturing the plane's signals using a device called an ADS-B receiver, which is available for purchase online.
Sweeney has used multiple accounts to report the locations of Taylor Swift and other celebrities' private jets, with many of these accounts still active.
What Taylor Swift's team said in the letter
According to NBC News, the letter, sent in late December 2023, states that Swift is living in "a constant state of fear for her personal safety" due to being tracked by the online accounts.
"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. Ms. Swift has dealt with stalkers and other individuals who wish her harm," the letter emphasizes.
Swift has frequently encountered stalkers appearing at her known locations, such as one Seattle man named David Crowe, who was arrested three times in five days outside her Manhattan home in January 2024. Crowe was arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal contempt, as reported by the Associated Press in late January. Prosecutors stated that the charge was filed after he violated a protective order to stay away from Swift and her residence.
A spokesperson for Swift informed YEPPOST.com via email that they couldn't provide comments on ongoing police investigations but "can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection" to Sweeney's accounts sharing Swift's location.
"His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be," the spokesperson added.
In a statement to NBC News, Jack Sweeney asserted that he does not have any intention of causing harm to anyone. "I simply share the facts," he emphasized.
"I believe in transparency and public information, apparently more so than Meta," he remarked.
Sweeney further mentioned that it is Swift's fans who are primarily interested in her location and have contributed to the growth of his accounts and subreddit.
"The tracking accounts routinely have more supporters and fans than otherwise," he explained to NBC News. "When the Embassy of Japan in the USA makes a statement saying that they are confident Swift can make it on a flight from Tokyo to the Super Bowl, I think the people are interested and that you should have a decent expectation that your jet will be tracked whether or not I do it, as after all, it is public information."
Previous criticism of Taylor Swift’s private jet usage
Swift has previously attracted attention for her utilization of private jets. In July 2022, a report by digital marketing agency Yard claimed that the singer had taken 170 flights on her private jet between January 1 and July 19, making her the celebrity with the highest number of flights among those investigated. Swift's spokesperson responded to the report, describing it as "blatantly incorrect."
"Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals," the spokesperson clarified at the time.
In an email statement on February 6, the spokesperson informed YEPPOST.com that Swift had purchased "more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all of her travel, which includes the tour." Carbon credits are permits that allow the owner to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.