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Student tracking Taylor Swift’s jet has did nothing unlawful

Student tracking Taylor Swift’s jet has did nothing unlawful
Published 2 months ago on Feb 20, 2024

College Student Tracking Taylor Swift’s Private Jet Finds Legal Defense Amidst Cease-and-Desist Clash.

In a battle that has captivated the attention of social media and legal circles alike, a Florida college student, Jack Sweeney, found himself at the center of controversy after tracking Taylor Swift’s private jet on Instagram. Swift’s legal team fired off a cease-and-desist letter, alleging stalking and harassment, but Sweeney’s lawyers have now responded with a robust defense, asserting his actions were entirely lawful.

The saga began when Sweeney, a 21-year-old University of Central Florida junior, ran an Instagram account under the handle @taylorswiftjets, where he shared real-time updates of the pop star’s private jet movements. In December, Swift’s attorney, Katie Wright Morrone of Venable LLP, issued a stern warning, threatening legal action if Sweeney continued to disclose Swift’s jet whereabouts.

Morrone accused Sweeney of engaging in stalking and harassing behavior, raising concerns for Swift’s safety and well-being. However, Sweeney’s legal team swiftly rebutted these claims, emphasizing that his actions were within the bounds of protected speech and did not violate any of Swift’s legal rights.

James Slater of Slater Legal PLLC, representing Sweeney, penned a response highlighting that the information shared by Sweeney was derived from publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Slater argued that tracking private jets, including those used by public figures like Taylor Swift, did not constitute unlawful behavior.

Moreover, Slater pointed out that Sweeney’s tracking activities extended beyond Swift’s jet, including those belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs and Elon Musk. This broader scope of tracking, Slater contended, demonstrated that Sweeney’s actions were not targeted harassment but rather part of his engagement in protected speech.

Addressing Morrone’s mention of California’s stalking law, Slater clarified that Sweeney had never made any credible threats against Swift, thus not meeting the statutory criteria for stalking. He also dismissed concerns regarding Swift’s safety, stating that the information shared posed no tangible threat to the singer.

Although Instagram shut down Sweeney’s @taylorswiftjets account for violating its policies, Sweeney continues to track and share posts about celebrity air travel on his other account, Celeb Jets. This broader focus suggests that Sweeney’s intent was not malicious targeting of Swift but rather a broader interest in celebrity travel patterns.

The clash over Swift’s jet tracking comes amidst broader scrutiny of the environmental impact of celebrity air travel. Swift, who faced criticism for the carbon footprint of her frequent flights, notably sold one of her two private jets on January 30, according to FAA data. This move coincided with ongoing discussions about sustainability and responsible environmental practices in the entertainment industry.

As the legal battle between Sweeney and Swift’s legal team unfolds, it raises pertinent questions about the boundaries of privacy, free speech, and celebrity accountability in the digital age. While Swift’s concerns for her safety are understandable, the legal dispute underscores the complexities of navigating fame, fan engagement, and the protection of individual rights in an interconnected world.

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