Elon Musk Offers Teenager $5,000 To Stop Tracking Bot

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is also the world’s richest man, is not happy that his movements are being tracked by an American teenager.

A 19 year-old student, Jack Sweeney, from Florida has developed the Twitter bot @ElonJet, which tracks Musk’s Gulfstream private jet, and posts real-time updates of its location on Twitter.

It has emerged that Elon Musk and Sweeney have exchanged DMs (direct messages), as Musk is understandably not happy about having his movements tracked, which is an obvious security risk.

Tracking jet

Musk, according to the Guardian newspaper, pleaded with Sweeney to delete it.

“Can you take this down? It is a security risk,” Musk reportedly wrote in a direct message to the teenager. “I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase.”

After a series of messages, which Sweeney has made public, Musk offered Sweeney a deal.

“How about $5k for this account and generally helping make it harder for crazy people to track me?

But the college freshman was not happy at such a low amount and wanted more.

“Any chance to up that to $50K? It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a [Tesla] Model 3.”

The last message exchange was Wednesday, 19 January, when Musk said it didn’t feel right “to pay to shut this down.”

“Options other than remuneration like an internship would make taking it down a lot easier,” Sweeney replied.

Musk has not yet responded.

“5,000 is not enough for how much I get out of it,” Sweeney reportedly said. “It doesn’t replace anything, like the enjoyment factor.”

Technical advice

Sweeney reportedly did offer Musk some technical advice, telling the billionaire about a blocking program he could use to counter flight tracking programs.

“It looks like he took that advice,” Sweeney said, saying it appears Musk is currently using the blocking program.

Despite that, it turns out that Sweeney is still able to track Musk’s flights despite the blocking program.

And Musk is not the only one being tracked by Sweeney and his bot accounts.

Sweeney has developed about a dozen other flight bot accounts that track the travels of high-profile tech titans, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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