Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Most Controversial Interactive Map

One of the earliest popular uses of the Google Maps API was Gawker Stalker. The now defunct Gawker Stalker interactive map tracked the movements of famous celebrities thanks to the detailed stalking carried out by Gawker and their readers. Now similar concerns are being raised regarding potential privacy infringements related to Jack Sweeney's TheAirTraffic, particularly involving the tracking of certain well-known individuals.

TheAirTraffic is a global flight tracking website which collects and displays real-time data on aircraft positions and their flight paths on an interactive map. One thing that makes TheAirTraffic different from other real-time flight tracking maps, such as FlightAware and Flightradar24 is its use of crowd-sourced data from publicly owned ADS-B Receivers.

The other big difference is that TheAirTraffic data is also used by Ground Control to track the movements of the executive jets owned by Elon Musk and Taylor Swift. Elon Musk for one seems very unhappy that Ground Control has published details of his extraordinarily excessive contribution to global heating.

According to Ground Control's data in 2022 alone Elon Musk's private jet N628TS spent a total of 14.65 days in the air. During that time Musk's plane consumed 1,195,500 lbs (557,711 kg) of jet fuel resulting in 1,895 tons of CO2 emissions (in comparison - the average person produces about four tons of carbon dioxide every year). 

Elon Musk and Taylor Swift are both keen to stop any public knowledge of their excessive contributions to global heating. According to Jack Sweeney's Wikipedia entry the self proclaimed free speech advocate Elon Musk has in the past suspended Sweeney's Twitter account and threatened to sue Sweeney. There is even some speculation that it was Elon's fury at Ground Control's ElonJet Twitter account that led him to decide to buy Twitter in the first place. 

In December 2023 Taylor Swift sent a cease and desist letter to Sweeney asking that he stop tracking her private jet. Taylor Swift has now apparently sold her private jet.

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