The practice of flight tracking has emerged as a serious issue among the high profile people in the society. Especially, this affects the extremely wealthy group of people who own aircrafts, using it for their personal use of travel. Recently, billionaire celebrities such as Elon Musk and Kylie Jenner, along with Russian and Chinese authorities have fallen victim to such tracking.
Websites following flights, along with Twitter pages often showcase accurate air traffic data. Additionally, they may also offer significant details on trips taken by authorities, such as Nancy Pelosi taking a trip to Taiwan last week. Unfortunately, such revelations generate issues such as objections and protests. Be it air freight companies of Russia, or jet owners from Saudi Arabia, groups noted how they receive numerous requests for the suspension of aircraft tracking informations.
The founder of flight tracking page ADS-B Exchange based in the US, Dan Streufert, stated how despite the requests, the sites had not removed anything. He stated how such data is publicly available information and how they are no one to determine if this is wrong.
Despite this being legal, some exceptions do exist, which the groups manage to dodge. Certain regulations in the US rule for aircrafts in some areas to have equipment of ADS-B tech which aid in showcasing the positions of these aircrafts.
How are these signals collected?
Flightradar24, a site based in Sweden has about 34,000 worldwide receivers that collect signals. This forms the main outlet for data that goes back to main network and is merged with the information of other data on the flights such as timings. According to aircraft tracker Jack Sweeney, determining as to who exactly owns a particular aircraft needs a little bit of investigation. Sweeney was responsible for tracking the private jets Russian oligarchs and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Moreover, he rejected Musk’s offer of $5,000 to shut down the page detailing his jet’s movements on Twitter.
Speaking about his activities, Sweeney noted how he was not doing anything wrong. According to him, he simply provides exclusive information on topics that interest people such as the whereabout of popular people, along with their concerns over the emissions from these aircrafts. Further, he stated how posting this information on Twitter simply makes it more accessible for people. Additionally, Sweeney also took part in tracking some of socialite Kylie Jenner’s flights, in collaboration with ADS-B information.
Both Steufert and Sweeney did not consider this as anything wrong, with the latter specifying how he was just posting the information that is already available. On the other hand, none of the parties exactly specified how much revenue does the activity generate, though Sweeney previously stated he earned around $100 per month from his posts.