Tracking billionaires’ flights: ‘They take private jets every other day like it’s an Uber’

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Billionaires theft tracking“They take private jets every other day like it’s an Uber”

How to annoy both senior Chinese officials, Elon Musk and Kylie Jenner? Track their private jets. The sites and Twitter accounts that track air traffic in real time are debated.

How to annoy both senior Chinese officials, Elon Musk and Kylie Jenner? Track their private jets. The sites and Twitter accounts that follow air traffic in real time provoke epidermal reactions, from simple complaints to seizures of equipment. Every year Russian air cargo companies, Saudi aircraft owners or others ask Dan Streufert, founder of the American flight tracking site ADS-B Exchange, to stop publishing their movements. Without success.

“We haven’t removed anything so far. This is public information. And I don’t want to be the referee who decides who is right or wrong,” explains Dan Streufert. Some limitations exist, but groups that reconstruct flight paths point out that the primary source of information is legally available and accessible to anyone with the necessary equipment.

An account dedicated to Elon Musk’s travels

US law requires aircraft in certain areas to be equipped with the ADS-B satellite system, which periodically radios the aircraft’s position to air traffic controllers. A site like Flightradar24 has 34,000 ground receivers around the world that can pick up such signals, data sent to a central network and cross-referenced with flight schedules and other aircraft information.

Identifying the owner of a plane is another matter, according to Jack Sweeney, 19, creator of the Celebrity Jets Twitter account, who unearthed Elon Musk’s private jet after a request for information from the public archives of the US government. The boss of Tesla offered him $5,000 to bury the “ElonJet” account, which has more than 480,000 subscribers and which tracks all the movements of the multi-billionaire’s plane.

“The data is already there”

“He’s got so much interest, I’m doing something that works. People like to see what celebrities are doing, that, and the stuff around emissions,” notes Jack Sweeney, referring to outrage over the carbon footprint of airplanes. Posting this type of information on Twitter makes it “more easy for people to access and understand it,” he adds. In July, the ‘Celebrity Jets’ account revealed that reality star Kylie Jenner had taken a private jet for a 17-minute flight to California causing uproar on social media.

“They’re telling us working class people to feel guilty for our annual flight on a much needed vacation while these celebrities ride private jets every other day like it’s an Uber,” one user tweeted. outraged. Neither Mr. Sweeney nor Mr. Streufert mentioned a red line they wouldn’t want to cross regarding the publication of air routes. “The data is already there. I’m just redistributing them,” says Jack Sweeney.

This activity also generates income, even if it is difficult to assess. Dan Streufert admits making a living this way but refuses to give details while Mr Sweeney says his flight tracking accounts earn him around $100 a month. Flightradar24 does not communicate on its turnover.

(AFP)

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