Bahama Times

Friday, Jan 27, 2023

Elon Musk and Donald Trump are trying new ways to dodge jet tracking — but it's not a 'silver bullet'

Elon Musk and Donald Trump are trying new ways to dodge jet tracking — but it's not a 'silver bullet'

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Donald Trump are all subjects of jet-tracking accounts on social media that expose their habits to the world.

Elon Musk has suspended over 30 jet-tracking accounts on Twitter, but the data is still public on multiple social media sites — something that celebrities have been fighting since long before the billionaire bought the platform.

20-year-old Jack Sweeney made headlines for publicly tracking Musk's private aircraft on Twitter, and his other accounts like Trump Jets and Zucc Jet, which follow Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg, respectively, also gained a following on the platform. All three of those accounts were booted off of Twitter this week, but remain active on Discord.

Because of rising privacy concerns, some billionaires, celebrities, and businesspeople have started looking at various ways to dodge the trackers.

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is one: He recently sold his private aircraft so "no one can see where I go," and he now rents jets instead. Apple CEO Tim Cook also only charters private jets as of 2017, with the company citing "security and efficiency" reasons.

Meanwhile, other high-profile people like Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner — who were slammed over the summer for taking hundreds of flights per year — are using the FAA's free "Limiting Aircraft Data Displayed" program, or LADD, to avoid trackers. Trump's Trump Force One plane is enrolled in the program, as is Oprah Winfrey's. 

The program allows private aircraft owners to block their planes from being publicly shown on websites like FlightAware and FlightRadar24, which use FAA data. 

But their plans for secrecy are being thwarted by aircraft-tracking website ADS-B Exchange. ADS-B is able to broadcast planes' whereabouts because it doesn't rely on FAA data, and thus is not subject to the FAA's privacy programs.

This means even planes that are part of LADD can be tracked by anyone with a smartphone or computer, and it is exactly the source Sweeney used for his myriad jet-tracking Twitter accounts.

Puma/Jay Z's jet tracked on ADS-B Exchange with LADD indicator.

Sweeney has even created a "LADD List" website that acts as a registry of aircraft that are part of the FAA's program and shows all the planes that are, or once were, part of LADD.

"The LADD list isn't so helpful because the plane is still identifying itself through ADS-B Exchange," Sweeney told Insider.

Some jet owners have started looking into another track-blocking option: the FAA's privacy ICAO aircraft address program, or PIA.

According to the agency, private plane owners can apply for a temporary aircraft registration number that is not currently attached to any plane, meaning they can basically fly incognito. The FAA told Insider it has issued over 300 PIAs to date.

However, Sweeney told Insider that even those aircraft can be tracked using ADS-B Exchange, as shown by a screenshot shared with Insider that shows Musk's jet flying on May 7 with no callsign and no tail number, but with "PIA" flagged. Sweeney's Elon Jet Twitter bot also recorded the flight.

Elon Musk's private jet flight with PIA flag, tracked by Jack Sweeney.


"These privacy mitigation programs are effective for real-time operations but do not guarantee absolute privacy," an FAA spokesperson said. "A flight can still be tracked in other ways such as a Freedom of Information Act request, www.LiveATC.com, ADSB Exchange, or a frequently departed airport."

With jet tracking becoming a major problem for the wealthy, the FAA has opened discussion on how to better block websites like ADS-B Exchange. At the National Business Aviation Association's conference in mid-October, the FAA talked about how to mitigate real-time tracking, but admitted: "There are no silver bullets."

Jack Sweeney at the NBAA conference in mid-October in Orlando.


Sweeney shared a slide from the FAA's presentation at the conference with Insider, which outlined ways the planes can still be tracked, like via LiveATC, which is real-time air traffic control conversation, and common departure airports.

"Elon Musk, for example, has a Gulfstream and there's only so many people that fly that particular plane out of Brownsville, Texas, and fly to the same airports," Sweeney told Insider.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Bahama Times
Close
0:00
0:00
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
George W. Bush and Barack Obama will hold back-to-back disinformation conferences
Mission Improbable: Tom Cruise & Queen Elizabeth
Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico are not single anymore
×