Wherever billionaires go, someone is probably watching them. That’s why billionaire space baron Elon Musk sent a message to the owner of a 19-year-old Twitter account who’s been tracking the tech CEO’s private jet, offering him $5,000 to have his account deleted, according to an initial report Wednesday from protocol, a tech news site.
And, strangely, after learning that this location data was available to everyone, Musk reportedly said air traffic control is primitive, which could mean that he would rather change the system than adapt.
Musk says air traffic control is ‘primitive’
Called the “Elon Musk Jet” account on Twitter (@ElonJet), it monitors the movements of the billionaire’s private jet via bots that constantly monitor air traffic data. In other words, it is public information, simply reposted on Twitter.
Despite not breaking any laws, the 19-year-old named Jack Sweeney received a text message at 12:13 a.m. in the fall of 2021 am EST which read, “Can you take this down? It’s a security risk,” the report said. Sweeney then replied, “Yeah I can, but it’ll cost you a Model 3 unless it’s a joke?” Musk responded that he “don’t love the idea of being shot by a nut-case.”
Elon Musk then offered to pay Sweeney $5,000 after some back and forth, but Sweeney respond his offer: “Any chance to bring it to $50,000? Protocol reported, It would be a great support in college & possibly allow me to buy a car, maybe even a Model 3″. Musk reportedly said he would consider it, but at the time of writing, he has yet to respond one way or the other. Sweeney had told Musk where he got the data from, but Musk replied: “Air traffic control is so primitive,” said the report, which didn’t specify whether the messages themselves were shared with protocol. Of course, it’s possible that Musk was just being flippant with that comment. It is also within realm of the possibility that Musk does not really think that air traffic control, which allows millions of travelers to fly safely everyday, is “primitive”. However, it is also possible that he was serious.
Musk remains worth $240 Billion
That’s a worrying comment from Musk. If in his mind, the reason air traffic control is primitive is that they publicly share all civilian air traffic data, instead of treating private jets differently than others, that could be construed as anti democratic.
Other institutions often implement more than one standard depending on the financial situation of their members (some very necessary, such as welfare). But as more public institutions, services & agencies partner & bend to the will of billionaires, more stratified society could become.
On the other hand, Musk isn’t entirely wrong about the “security issues” he tweeted about earlier this month. Everyone knows that Musk is one of the most prominent tech CEOs in the world, according to a Forbes report, with a personal net worth of more than $240 billion as of Thursday.
With one of the largest sums of money at his disposal, there are other solutions that might be more effective for Musk. Perhaps Musk could buy several private planes instead of paying anyone who dares access public data and share it on Twitter. – so nobody knows which one it is on.
Of course, that’s assuming his current location isn’t publicly tracked either. But there are people in the world who might act on negative feelings about an extremely wealthy CEO and attempt some kind of mischief. Several private jets were moving towards more destinations could significantly reduce the probability that anyone knows which one is he is on. And it might avoid the tricky problem of lifting the location of some more financially gifted passengers to elevated status over rest of us. But it is just a suggestion.