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Taylor Swift sent a cease and desist letter to the student tracking her private jets

The student says he's using publicly available information to track the pop star's jets.
/ Source: TODAY

Taylor Swift's legal team wants a college student tracking her private jet to stop because they say she is living "in a constant state of fear for her personal safety" as a result.

University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney, who says he uses publicly available information to track Swift and other celebrities' private jets and shares their locations on social media, told NBC News that the pop star's attorneys sent him a cease and desist letter.

According to the letter, first reported by The Washington Post, Swift's legal team says the singer will “have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies” if he did not stop his “stalking and harassing behavior.”

How was Sweeney tracking Swift's jet?

Sweeney, who has operated under several social media handles on various platforms, says he uses publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration to track the jets of various celebrities.

The Washington Post reports Sweeney's accounts also use information from volunteer hobbyists who can track the aircraft via signals broadcast. People on the ground can see which planes are flying overhead by picking up the plane's signals using a device called an ADS-B receiver, which can be ordered online.

Sweeney has used several accounts to report Swift and other celebrities' private jet locations, many of which are still in operation.

What Taylor Swift's team said in the letter

The letter, sent in late December 2023, says that Swift is living her "life in a constant state of fear for her personal safety," as a result of being tracked by the online accounts, NBC News reports.

"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 notes.

Swift has routinely faced stalkers showing up at her known locations — including one Seattle man, 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, the Associated Press reported, in late January. The charge came after he violated a protective order to stay away from Swift and her home, prosecutors say.

A spokesperson for Swift told via email that they couldn't comment on any 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 said.

What Jack Sweeney has said in his defense

In a statement to NBC News, Sweeney said he doesn't intend to harm anyone. "I simply share the facts," he said.

"I believe in transparency and public information, apparently more so than Meta," he said.

He added that Swift's fans are the ones most interested in her location and who have grown his accounts and subreddit.

"The tracking accounts routinely have more supporters and fans than otherwise," he told 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 made headlines for her use of private jets in the past. In July 2022, digital marketing agency Yard released a report that said the singer took 170 flights on her private jet between Jan. 1 and July 19 of 2022, the most of any celebrity investigated. Swift's spokesperson responded on Swift's behalf at the time, calling the report "blatantly incorrect."

“Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals," the spokesperson said at the time.

In her emailed statement on Feb. 6, the pop star's spokesperson told 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.