Elon Musk does a lot of traveling in his private jet, mostly because he runs one of the most popular electric vehicle companies in the world right now. Musk apparently asked one UCF student to stop broadcasting where his jet goes on a daily basis via the ElonJet Twitter account. The student said no, but can you blame him?
Elon Musk offered this student $5,000 to stop broadcasting the jet’s location
Jack Sweeney is a student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Sweeney created the ElonJet handle on Twitter to track where Elon Musk’s planes go daily. He wrote a program and bot that automatically detect when the jet takes off, lands, and travels around the country.
The bot tells people the location of the jet, the city/state, and whips up a nice map to visualize the trip. Nothing nefarious about the account except that it keeps tabs on a billionaire. According to the Jack’s Tech website, “the nearest airport is found using Haversine formula between a database of airports and their coordinates, the airport is appended to the image.”
After a bit, Sweeney was able to add other Tesla-related jets to the box. The original 2015 Gulfstream G650ER (#N628TS) is used mainly by Musk, which initially inspired the account. ElonJet also tracks the 2007 Gulfstream G550 (#N272BG) and a 2004 Gulfstream G550 (#N502SX) used by Tesla and SpaceX staff.
@ElonJet has over 100,000 followers, but Elon Musk isn’t fond of the account
Sweeney said that he tracks the planes and not who may or may not be in the aircraft. There are other sources like Flightaware that follow all planes flying around at any given time. Elon Musk apparently reached out to Sweeney via private message on Twitter, asking him to stop tracking the private planes. According to Business Insider, the conversation went haywire quickly.
The bot creator said that Musk called the system “primitive” and didn’t appreciate it. Musk said, “how about $5k for this account and generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me?” Sweeney said he would give the account up but asked for the amount to be raised to $50,000. He noted that it could be used for school and a Tesla Model 3. The account creator also asked for an internship.
All of the data used on the @ElonJet account is publicly available and legal to share. Sweeney said he enjoyed coding the bot and running the account with more than 100,000 followers.
This seems like a missed opportunity to support a Tesla fan
The account offers a lot of interesting information such as the location, distance, nearest airport, and more. As previously stated, there are various sources that offer the same information about planes and private planes. Giving someone like this an internship could be a great move for the student, but Musk didn’t seem interested. The conversation ended shortly after.
Elon Musk apparently used some sort of program to make it harder to track his planes. Sweeney didn’t seem phased, and the Twitter account is still following the plane’s whereabouts. It seems like a missed opportunity to make a Tesla fan for life. Of course, Musk deserves privacy like anyone else, but the information is public for a reason. Why not give Sweeney an internship and an opportunity?