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Elon Musk Asks Flight Tracker Owner to Stop Following His Jet

Space Magnate Offered $5k to Withdraw Online Flight Tracker 

A 19-year-old aviation enthusiast received an interesting message regarding one of a handful of online twitter bots, finding an offer from Tesla and SpaceX celeb Elon Musk.

He had requested that the young student pull down the @ElonJet flight tracker, an account that automatically updates the status and arrival of Musk’s Gulfstream G650. Those in the industry are familiar with the lack of privacy, with the amount of tracking and identification possible between flight plans and air traffic control, but Jack Sweeney put quite a bit of work into tying a disparate amount of data together. 

ElonJet is one of 15 flight tracking accounts the teen has created, all meant to collate and discern the location of private jets for anyone big enough to be in the public eye. The Musk tracker account boasts more than 136,000 followers on Twitter, recording the movements of the jet registered to the celebrity, enough to catch the eye of the man himself. He sent a late-night message to Sweeney, describing it as a "security risk" and requesting it be taken down. Sweeney replied the next morning with a facetious counteroffer: A Tesla Model 3. Musk broke down the money made on the account, which Sweeney said amounted to little more than 20 bucks a month. In return, Musk offered $5,000 to delete it to keep "crazy people" from tracking his location.

Sweeney, taking his shot, appended another zero to his counter: "“Any chance to up that to $50k? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a Model 3," he said. Musk said he would mull it over, and the deal remains outstanding. 

Sweeney's work is impressive for his age. Musk, along with his fellow celebrities, is enrolled in the Limited Aircraft Data Display list to remove identifying information from his aircraft's flight data. The bot makes use of entirely open information, combining stripped data with ADS-B traffic. Using the combination of information, like flight paths and altitude, Sweeney's able to identify the given plane's comings and goings. Still, it hasn't yet panned out, aside from building his name as a programmer. The teen's most recent offer - an internship at one of Musk's ventures to shut the account down - remains unopened. 

FMI: www.twitter.com/ElonJet


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