Teen monitors Elon Musk’s private jet, ‘as well as Gates, Bezos, and Drake.’
“Can you take this down? It is a security risk.”
Elon Musk started a conversation with Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old Twitter user. It’s a Twitter account named @ElonJet that monitors the movements of his private plane across the globe.
When the message arrived at 12:13 a.m, college freshman Sweeney didn’t get any sleep. Almost seven hours later, he said, “Yes I can but it’ll cost you a Model 3 only joking unless?”
A bot called @ElonJet runs one of the 15 flight-tracking accounts that Sweeney has set up. When a plane takes off or lands, the bot will tweet about it. Each one follows a well-known person, mostly in the tech field, like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. Almost 83,000 people follow a tracker called “Musk’s Tracker.”
It looks like the account’s popularity has scared Musk. “I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase,” he told Sweeney in their DM conversation.
For a few more messages, we talked about the same things.
Musk asked Sweeney how much money he made from the Twitter accounts. Sweeney said he made no more than $20 a month from them.
Finally, billionaire Elon Musk made his own offer: $5,000 to delete the account and help him keep “crazy people” from tracking him down. Another 0, was told to be added by Sweeney. Musk did so. “Can we make that $50,000? Would be a great help in college and might even let me get a car, maybe even the Model 3.”
Musk said that he would think about it. That’s why Sweeney hasn’t been paid yet, and the account is still running. Sweeney says he’s fine with being left alone. “ElonJet and the other accounts have done a lot for him,” he said.
Social media followers have been added to his account. He has learned how to code and even got a part-time job at UberJets as an app developer. Better still, the self-described Elon Musk fan was able to talk to a man he’s looked up to for a long time.
Twitter accounts haven’t caused any problems yet, but Sweeney thinks Musk has a point. He knows a lot about what people can find online. Celebrities getting snatched at airports by fans, people who want to sell their autographs, paparazzi, stalkers, and the like isn’t a big deal, but it is.
It’s also been a while since tech CEOs like Elon Musk and other people like that have become real stars.
Protocol tried to contact SpaceX’s media team to find out if there had been any violent incidents or threats.
This was one of the last ways the press could get in touch with Musk after he dissolved Tesla’s PR team last year. The protocol didn’t get a response.
Twitter bots, on the other hand, don’t get excited when they see stars. They’ve just been going through the data Sweeney told them to look through.
The 15 bots use information from the FAA when it’s available. The administration keeps track of when and where planes take off and land, as well as where they’re going to go next.
However, his plane and many others are on the LADD block list, which removes any information that can be used to identify the plane or the person.
There aren’t any private planes, even if they are blocked. In these cases, Sweeney uses data from the ADS-B transponders that are on most planes.
These transponders show a plane’s location in the air in real-time as it moves through the air on the ADS-B Exchange. This is like a logic game: You have to figure out how to make sense of all this information.
Sweeney’s bots can use a plane’s altitude and how long ago the data was sent to figure out when it is taking off or landing.
They can then compare the plane’s latitude and longitude to a database of airports to figure out where it is leaving or going.
If you want to know where a plane is going, you can’t get access to the FAA’s flight plans.
But Sweeney’s bots can cross-check the real-time ADS-B data with the flight plans on another website that doesn’t show the real plane’s name.
These anonymous FAA flight plans let the bot figure out where each plane is going in real-time. This is all public information, and you can use it to track most private planes.
As someone who works in the field, you need a lot of specific knowledge to know that all this data was available and public, and how to read it.
Sweeney had that in mind: His father is in the airline business, and Sweeney has been following planes since he was a child. This is because his father is in the airline business.
He says that like many young boys, he would try to figure out what kind of planes were flying across the sky. He would often check his guesses against what he could find in in-flight tracker apps on his phone.
Once Sweeney told Musk where he was getting the data, the entrepreneur was surprised by how easy it was to get. People thought air traffic control was “so old,” he told us.
It was last Wednesday that they sent each other a DM. Sweeney said he’d rather get an internship than money in exchange for deleting the account. Musk hasn’t read the message, Sweeney says, but he isn’t angry.