Billionaires and stars wonder, in vain, that their private planes are no longer tracked

How do you annoy both senior Chinese officials, Elon Musk and Kylie Jenner? By tracking their own planes. Sites and Twitter accounts that track air traffic in real time elicit skin reactions, from minor complaints to equipment confiscations. fifteen days ago, We interviewed the French account creators Cottam Fleet and iFly Bernard. Which follows in particular the travels of Emmanuel Macron, ministers and Bernard Arnault, president of LVMH. But the phenomenon is global. Every year, Russian air freight companies, Saudi plane owners or others ask Dan Struvert, founder of the US flight tracking website ADS-B . exchangeto stop their movements. without success.

We haven’t deleted anything yet. This is general information. I don’t want to be the arbiter who decides who’s right or wrongThere are some limitations, but groups reconstructing flight paths maintain that the primary source of information is legally available and accessible to anyone with the necessary equipment. US law requires that aircraft in certain areas be equipped with the ADS-B satellite system , which periodically transmits the aircraft’s location by radio to air traffic controllers. Flytradar 24 It has 34,000 ground receivers around the world that can capture such signals and data sent to a central network and compare it to flight schedules and other aircraft information.

$5,000 to stop following Elon Musk

Successfully recognizing the owner of the aircraft is another matter, according to Jack Sweeney, 19, the creator of the Twitter account.celebrity planes“, who discovered Elon Musk’s private plane after a request for information from the US government’s public archives. The Tesla boss offered him $5,000 to bury the account”ElonJet“, More than 480,000 subscribers follow every movement of the billionaire’s plane.”He has a lot of interest, I’m doing something that works. People love to see what celebrities are doing, doing, and doing on the show“, notes Mr. Sweeney, referring to outrage over the carbon footprint of aircraft. Posting this kind of information on Twitter allows people to”More easily accessible and understandable‘, he adds.

In July, the ‘Celebrity Jets’ account revealed that reality TV star Kylie Jenner boarded a private jet for a 12-minute flight to California causing an uproar on social media. “They tell us that working-class people feel guilty about our much-needed annual vacation while these celebrities ride private jets every day like they’re Uber.An angry user tweeted online. Neither Mr. Sweeney nor Mr. Struvert have mentioned a red line they don’t want to cross in terms of airline deployments.The data already exists. I just redistribute themJack Sweeney confirmed.

profitable open source business

This activity also generates income, even if it is difficult to value. Dan Struvert admits making a living this way, but refuses to give details while Sweeney says his flight tracking accounts earn him about $100 a month. Flightradar24 does not communicate when it is spinning.

Tracking flights could have a significant impact beyond the outrage of celebrities and billionaires, such as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan on Tuesday, which was followed by more than 700,000 people on Flightradar24 at the time of its landing.

In August, a report by a non-governmental organization accusing the European border control agency, Frontex, of facilitating the forcible return of migrants trying to cross the perilous Mediterranean Sea, was based on data from ADS-B systems, as well as used by US media to denounce the presence of surveillance flights during the demonstrations. Anti-racism in Washington in 2020.

a tool for democracy

Dozens of elected members of Congress, following these revelations, urged in a letter in the FBI and other government agencies such as the National Guard to “Stop watching peaceful protestersElsewhere in the world, governments have made it clear that these technologies and this type of data are not welcome.

Chinese state media reported in 2021 that the government confiscated hundreds of receivers used by real-time flight tracking websites, under the guise of “risk”.spy“.”In many cases, it is authoritarian regimes that do not like this kind of appearanceDan Struvert confirms

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