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College student who tracks Elon Musk’s jet says he’s not concerned about possibly being sued by the billionaire: ‘There isn’t much ground for him to stand on’

Jack Sweeney and Elon MuskJack Sweeney and Elon Musk

Jack Sweeney and Getty

  • Jack Sweeney said he’s “not really concerned” about Elon Musk’s legal threat.
  • Musk said he’s going to take legal action against Sweeney over his jet-tracking account on Wednesday.
  • A legal expert told Insider that Musk doesn’t have much of a case, but a legal battle may be costly.

Jack Sweeney, the college student who tracks Elon Musk’s private jet, said he isn’t phased by the billionaire’s legal threat.

“I’m not really concerned because a tweet is just a tweet, you know?” Sweeney told Insider on Thursday. “From what I see, there isn’t much ground for him to stand on and that’s the opinion of a lot of people [that I’ve talked] to.” 

On Wednesday, Twitter suspended the account run by Sweeney that tracks Musk’s private plane, @ElonJet, as well as over 30 other accounts that he runs, including his personal profile.

“Last night, car carrying lil X in LA was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood,” Musk tweeted on Wednesday night after suspending @ElonJet, bringing it back temporarily, and suspending it again. “Legal action is being taken against Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.”

The billionaire also changed Twitter’s policies to prohibit accounts that share an “individual’s live location.” Sweeney said his @ElonJet account was temporarily restored on Wednesday night and he received an email saying his account had been re-enabled, reminding him to “please refer to our updated policy regarding location sharing to prevent further account restrictions,” but the account was again disabled within a few hours.

On Wednesday night, Musk also posted a video that he described as showing a man who had followed the car that was carrying his two-year-old son. 

Sweeney told Insider that he’s not sure what the video has to do with him. He uses bots to scrape and post publicly available flight data that people would otherwise be able to find on their own via ADS-B Exchange.

“The last time I tweeted [from @ElonJet] was 24 hours before that event and that was a car [in the video] anyway,” he said. “I track his plane and it doesn’t even really guarantee he’s on it.”

Musk and a spokesperson for Twitter did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

The 20-year-old said he was home from college when he learned of Musk’s legal threat.

“I was really surprised, maybe for a couple of seconds, but then I thought rationally,” he said, adding that his parents were equally stunned by the billionaire’s tweet. “It seems like he’s just trying to scare me and it’s not going to work.”

Erik Gordon, a business law professor at the University of Michigan, told Insider Musk doesn’t have a good legal case because the billionaire can’t claim an evasion of privacy with respect to information that is already publicly available.

But, that doesn’t mean Musk can’t sue anyway — and a legal battle with one of the richest people in the world will be costly, Gordon said.

“In the US judicial system, you can lose a lot of money winning a lawsuit,” Gordon said. “Wealthy people often make it a practice to sue over these kinds of issues. It’s an act of intimidation against someone who can’t afford it.”

Sweeney told Insider he’s been told to reach out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other digital rights groups for support and he’s already talked to some people regarding the lawsuit, but he’s yet to officially bring on a lawyer.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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