The 19-year-old college freshman said he was getting way too much joy out of it to accept a $5000 offer to shut the account.
The world's richest man Elon Musk doesn't want the public to know where he's flying on his private jet and is willing to pay up to $5000 to hide that information. A Twitter account with the handle @ElonJet run by a 19-year-old from Florida, Jack Sweeney, tracks Elon Musk's flights and it's bothering the Tesla and SpaceX CEO and owner. The teenager rejected Musk's $5000 offer to shut down the account after the billionaire said it posed a security risk, reported CNN. The account ElonJet currently has more than 200,000 followers. Sweeney developed a bot to track Musk's flights and it's getting on the billionaire's nerves.
The bot tweets out information on when and where Musk's planes take off or land, and shares the duration of each trip. Jack Sweeney, who's a college freshman has created a dozen other bots and accounts that track the travel of tech tycoons such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. "I've rewritten my Twitter bot to support multiple planes and I'm now running multiple Twitter bots for certain of interest planes," he wrote, before asking for suggestions from the public about who to transport. First, Musk requested Sweeney to take down the account. "Can you take this down?" Musk asked Sweeney on November 30. "It's a security risk."
Yeah, unfortunately this is becoming a security issue— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2022
Musk then offered him $5000 to prevent "crazy people" from tracking his flights. "I don't love the idea of being shot by a nutcase," said Musk. Sweeney thought surely the world's richest man do better than a $5000 offer and asked for $50,000. Sweeney said he could use it for college and maybe even get himself a Tesla (TSLA) Model 3. Elon Musk replied on January 19 that it didn't feel right to "pay to shut this down." Sweeney then replied that he would take an internship in exchange. "Options other than remuneration like an internship would make taking it down a lot easier," he replied. Musk has not responded to the teenager yet.
Sweeney's father worked for an airline, piquing his interest in aviation from a very small age. Naturally, he was a big fan of SpaceX since its first Falcon Heavy launch in 2018. When asked about rejecting a $5000 offer, he said he was getting too much joy out of it to shut it down for a paltry sum. "5,000 is not enough for how much I get out of it. It doesn't replace anything, like the enjoyment factor," he said. Being the good-natured soul that he is, Sweeney even offered technical advice to block the program, which Musk appears to have taken on board. "It looks like he took that advice," said Sweeney. But, Sweeney is too smart for Musk and found another way to keep the account running and provide updates. Sweeney said he could still track Musk's flights but "it's just a bit more complicated."
This account has every right to post jet whereabouts, ADS-B data is public, every aircraft in the world is required to have a transponder, Even AF1 (@AirForceTrack) Twitter policy states data found on other sites is allowed to be shared here as well. pic.twitter.com/Wol8O1DRiq— Elon Musk's Jet (@ElonJet) January 18, 2022
Many have praised Sweeney for his efforts to track the flights of billionaires and called for more transparency from the rich people. "Jack, What you are doing is amazing... for transparency. It would be useful for the public, stockholders, customers to know where and when corporate jets are flying. You can build a business around this capability. Don't settle for 5K, 50K, or even 500K," one person wrote on Twitter. Another person said Sweeney's actions posed a huge security risk. "Leaking exact details/info about where @elonmusk is going to be or go is kinda not cool or safe. His life is valuable and precious and not everyone loves him or wishes him well. People need to remember that and keep that in mind. Safety first," wrote another user. Many responded reminding the user that Sweeney was merely using public knowledge and not really revealing confidential information. Sweeney said he had every right to post the information available in public.