tracking private planes, an illegal practice?

After the ElonJet Twitter account, which tracked his plane’s movements, was suspended, Elon Musk is doing it again. The billionaire admired by the far right silenced, Thursday, December 15, the eight journalists who wrote articles about him. Among them is Drew Harwell (The Washington Post), Ryan Mac (The New York Times) and Donie O’Sullivan (CNN). Most of them delivered the work of ElonJet. If the new owner of the social network has all the power on its platform, its justifications are not convinced.

Criticizing me all day is fine, but revealing my location in real time and putting my family in danger is not. Elon Musk said on Twitter. “The same rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else”then he added.

Real-time aircraft position

The Tesla boss has already expressed a similar opinion after suspending the ElonJet account, held by Jack Sweeney. Any account that reveals real-time location information of anyone will be suspended as a physical security violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location information. »

Jack Sweeney responded by saying that the data he uses is completely public. Elon Musk’s plane tracking, like other billionaires, is made possible byAutomatically relies on tracking-broadcast. This surveillance system, which provides all aerial devices, transmits real-time data every three seconds on the plane’s position, as well as its altitude and speed.

The rules are changing for Twitter

The purpose of this device is to avoid collisions and allow the location of the aircraft to be known at all times. Previously, they spent a long time out of radar range. No one knows where they are when they fly over deserts, oceans or mountains.

Following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014, this technology was made mandatory by the US Federal Aviation Administration. Tracing a particular person, however, requires cross-checking several pieces of information, to ensure that he is the owner of a particular aircraft. “This raises particular privacy issues,” underlined the website of the American media NBC News.

Twitter’s rules, which previously did not prohibit the practice, have been changed to align with Elon Musk’s recent statements. It is now prohibited to display a person’s position in real time on the platform. However, this practice remains authorized in other social networks.

A legal practice

The billionaire announced that he would sue Jack Sweeney. The defendants will dispute that “the data used is public”, as law professor Erik Gordon reminds us, quoted by American media Business insider.

“Flight data protection is protected by the 1st amendment”, also underlined Tristan Mendès France, digital specialist, on Twitter. He cited another user of the platform, who referenced a 1979 US lawsuit, Smith vs. DailyMail. During this time, judges considered it illegal to punish someone who publishes information obtained through legal means.

Elon Musk and freedom of expression

This first amendment, the foundation of the American Constitution, dramatically defends freedom of expression, which Elon Musk swore to protect by buying Twitter. “My commitment to free speech extends to not being banned from following my airplane account, even if it is a direct risk to personal safety,” he is thus declared.

Elon Musk changed his tune after reporting on his account an incident involving a vehicle carried by one of Elon Musk’s sons, named X Æ A-12. “Last night the car carrying little X to Los Angeles was followed by a crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who then stopped the car from moving and climbed on the bonnet”explained the billionaire.

His decision caused critical reactions in Europe. The German Foreign Minister expressed his “worry” for “freedom of the press”while the European Union raised the possibility of punishing Twitter.

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