Taylor Swift’s lawyers have issued a cease and desist letter to a college computer programming student who uses public flight data to monitor the private jet usage of several high-profile figures, including Swift.
The letter was reportedly sent to Jack Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, who was briefly suspended from X in December 2022 after he turned his private jet tracking focus on Elon Musk.
At the time, Musk had also threatened legal action against Sweeney over his alleged “doxxing” of “real-time location info”, which Musk claimed was a “physical safety violation”.
Now, the young programmer is facing similar accusations of “stalking and harassing behaviour” for tracking the flights of Swift’s private jet.
He has additionally been accused of causing the pop star and her family “direct and irreparable harm, as well as emotional and physical distress”.
“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,” Swift’s legal team argued in the letter seen by The Independent, adding that there is “no legitimate interest in or public need for this information, other than to stalk, harass, and exert dominion and control”.
“We cannot comment on any ongoing police investigation but can confirm the timing of stalkers suggests a connection,” Swift’s publicist told The Independent. “His posts tell you exactly when and where she would be.”
In recent weeks, Swift has been the victim of an alleged stalker who was arrested near her New York City townhouse for the third time in five days.
Addressing the accusations, Sweeney clarified to The Independent that his “intentions are not to cause harm”.
“But I believe in the importance of transparency and public information,” he wrote in a statement, adding: “Swift’s team suggests that I have no legitimate interest in sharing jet information, which is fundamentally incorrect.
“Her fans, who have grown the TaylorSwiftJets accounts and subreddit, are the ones truly interested. These tracking accounts consistently have more supporters and fans,” he said. “When the Embassy of Japan in the USA expresses confidence that Swift can make a flight from Tokyo to the Super Bowl, it indicates public interest. Therefore, one should reasonably expect that their jet will be tracked, whether or not I’m the one doing it, as it is public information after all.”
Swift’s private jet usage has also become a hot-button topic across social media, with many critics pointing out the level of carbon emissions incurred with every flight.
The “Anti-Hero” singer, who recently embarked on the Asia leg of her mega-successful Eras Tour, was said to be the top polluter among celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Drake taking short flights on private jets in 2022.
Her publicists were quick to come to her defence, claiming that the singer’s jet was often loaned out to other parties.
“Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals,” a spokesperson told various news outlets in 2022. “To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”