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The flight tracker that powered @ElonJet has taken a left turn

A major independent flight tracking platform, which has made enemies of the Saudi royal family and Elon Musk, has been sold to a subsidiary of a private equity firm. And its users are furious. ADS-B Exchange has made headlines in recent months for, as AFP put it, irking “billionaires and baddies.” But in a Wednesday morning press release, aviation intelligence firm Jetnet announced it had acquired the scrappy open source operation for an undisclosed sum. ( More...

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pete hughes 19
Users' anger is nothing to do with any privacy issue, it is that people provide data from their own systems without any recompense and here we are with a belief by a financial institution that it can make money out of such freely donated data. Many of the donors of data will not be continuing to feed the system so what will be left for the purchaser? A cynical view might be that the intent is to close down such an open and excellent system to appease those trying to hide their activities....
Fred Ensminger 3
Hide WHAT 'activities'?
If I am rich enough to have an aircraft, I'm also rich (and smart) enough to send 'my' airplane one place while I take a different aircraft in the opposite direction.
I still don't know why anyone cares where a private aircraft goes...
t n 1
That's what I would do too!
Jim Bassler -1
That private aircraft is using taxpayer funded infrastructure.
Greg Scoggins 9
Oh, please. The roads and highways you drive on are also taxpayer funded infrastructure, would you be okay with anyone being able to pull up your license plate to find out where you are at any moment? And, where you had BEEN over the past year? Your logic is ridiculous.
Frank Dasmacci 0
Greg... thank you for engaging brain before mouth! more people should consider doing so. I just dont understand the silly comments some people make when they have no idea what the hell they are talking about!
Frank Dasmacci 5
Private aircraft have no funding from public money. know your facts before you spew. all General Aviation funds are from the Taxes on AVIATION FUEL ONLY.
DL Harris 1
What part of "Taxes" is not public money? What part of "General Aviation" does not include all aviation? All air control and most airports are publicly funded. Trying flying your private 737 without these.
Dan Grelinger 2
Your automobile uses very similar taxpayer funded infrastructure. Are you oK if someone deploys automated plate reader technology on every street corner and publicly reports everywhere you have gone?
Ehud Gavron 10
I provided a feed to ADSBexchange. Now i provide one to FR24. I'll happily provide ADS and MLAT to any noncensorious company that will share it freely. No LADD, no fees, no Elon, no problem.
chugheset 2
FR24 is a commercial, for profit company. How is that any different that what just happened to ADS-B Exchange? If you want access to the data you have to have a subscription (except for their most basic level).

In fact, all of the major flight tracking companies rely (at least in some part) on user data feeds. Hopefully the new owners will pump some money in to ADS-B and improve the GUI. It's been kind of stale for a while.
kaijing 1
OpenSky Network is one place to go.
Alan Zelt 32
I didn't realize that airways are private. We live in a world that police capture license plates of cars on the toad, place cameras at street corners, and capture domestic phone calls.

Why is it necessary to give space to Musk and Saudi royals?
Greg Scoggins 6
The police do not share captured license plates with the public unless there is evidence a crime has been committed. Cameras on street corners do not provide publicly available information either. Last, it is illegal to capture domestic phone calls too, they call it eavesdropping.
RustySimmons 1
Plate readers are common on toll roads, at state borders on major highways, in police cars, and likely many others places I don't know. Data on all of our cars movements is captured all the time. police use it when a crime is committed by searching all that accumulated data for a specific plate, you know the needle in the haystack. They probably set up active alerts too so that when a specific plate is spotted they are notified quickly, allowing them to focus on an area. Do they share it? Probably not. They put up the scanners, they collect the data, it's their data.

If I wanted to put a license plate reader on my property but aimed at the street, I could gather plate data myself. I could keep it, or share it. If a bunch of folks did the same, and we banded together to share the data we'd have a bigger picture of traffic and whereabouts, effectively recreating what the government operates as part of public safety. Like ADS-B readers owned by a lot of folks, sharing with an aggregator, in effect recreating what ATC and other public safety systems do. So swap optical reading of license plates for electronic reading of ADS-B transmitters and you may get where I'm headed. If not... well, can't help you.
Fred Ensminger -9
Why do YOU need to know where an airplane is going?
Why does anyone need to know?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Frank Dasmacci 2
Electro Magnetic Radiation??????? wow.... I thought you drank the punch, but it looks like the bowl was swallowed to!!!
hvdctom 19
If you don't want to be tracked, plane or vehicle, then you need to throw you cell phone away and never buy a new one.
Bill Overdue 4
Pfft, your car's being tracked, no phone needed!
David Rice 2
Great. And then I get in my airplane and turn on the transponder. That's what we're talking about here. Try to keep up. /S
Fred Ensminger 5
Great, turn on the transponder, how do you know who is on that aircraft?
75% of the time Trump is NOT on his jet, it's usually someone else.
A LOT of 'rich people' suballocate their aircraft to others.
A1Topgun 28
Guv'mint and Corp. tracking citizens = GOOD. Citizens tracking guv'mint and big wigs = BAD.
chugheset 7
Technically, it's GUB-mint, as in cot-damn Gubmint...
Bill Overdue 4
Thank, I needed that, was a long haul today!
sparkie624 29
I don't understand why people are so upset about this... this is public data that is being transmitted in the open for anyone to receive. It is a good system... If someone does not want to be tracked while flying... then Drive! If I am meeting someone at the airport, it is nice to get an updated ETA without having to talk to anyone.. This public data... No reason not to share it. Musk is just an oversized Cray Baby!
Adi Rabadi 15
Musky tracks every car he sells - but ....
Fred Ensminger 2
Soon, they ALL will.

paul trubits 2
If you have Starlink, Onstar or something similar in your automobile you are being tracked
David Rice 3
I would suggest that if there was a website that showed where AND HOW you drive your car, and there was not a way to block this info publically, you might complain. That is currently the case for non-rich people who fly their Cessnas. See my other post above for how aircraft owners are allowed to limit the release of this data. However, WHILE I'M FLYING IT YOU CAN SEE ME ON MANY APPS (who cares?); however, the flight logs are not saved/available for boss to check if I'm flying while I "work from home" /S. So, bottom line are right, no reason for anyone to be upset, especially since the aircraft owner is allowed to limit this data release, except real-time.
Greg Douglas 2
If this data is available "WHILE I'M FLYING IT YOU CAN SEE ME ON MANY APPS"... Then I guarantee someone... somewhere is saving that data - and even making it available for anyone to access. It's not like that data disappears as soon as you shut down your aircraft.
Bill Overdue 2
It's like the person who says "but I've got nothing to hide".. bullchit, yes you do!
Val Trent 2
Proof that stupid stays stupid!!!
Ian Edge -2
I fully agree, Musk must have something to hide like other criminally wealthy control freaks
Fred Ensminger 9
'criminally wealthy'?

How so?

Question: how does anyone know he is even ON a particular aircraft?
Just because 'his' aircraft is going somewhere does not mean HE is on it.
Bill Overdue 1
... and you don't have anything to hide! C'mon man!
Mike Gerard 12
So the rich don't want us to know where they go!
David Rice 7
The vast majority of ADS-B transponders are not owned by rich people, but instead people who barely scrape up enough cash to fly their aging Cessnas. We're not rich, we just love to fly.
Frank Dasmacci 1
Thank you for having a brain!
Fred Ensminger 4
Do you really care where they go?
Second, how do you know a 'rich person' is actually on THAT aircraft?
Daniel DeLong 3
Privacy? Since when?
Gary Skaggs 7
It would have been nice if the writer for "Wired" had gotten the "name" of the FAA correct.
One might wonder what other details were mangled in this article.
Chuck Chall 5
As of Sept of this year, all of our radio controlled models over 9 ounces will be required to have a device similar to ADSB in them to track our airplanes. For it to be useful, it's going to have to appear somewhere in the data display on full scale aircraft. Just one more thing to keep track of in the cockpit. Government doing what it does best, grow government.
David Rice 1
Ok, but people who break the rules and/or fly their radio controlled devices over 400 AGL really, really make GA pilots nervous. You get that, yes? Thank goodness for both geo-fencing and some level of accountability for sharing airspace.
Chris van Zyl 4
If you can't lick 'em, buy 'em.
jmilleratp 4
If you are for blocking your publicly-available data transmissions, then you must be for blocking your publicly-available voice transmissions. It's either both or it's neither.
John Taylor 2
Does ADS-B transmit an aircraft tail number or just its Hex ID ? If it's not sending out its tail number then someone is able to freely find anyone's tail number and track it, correct?

PS. I use ADS-Bx just to watch what planes are flying overhead and to also watch what military flights, which isn't available on other sites, to see what kind of traffic is moving around the world.
David Rice 1
ADS-B transponders always transmit data, including the tail number to the FAA. Period. Aircraft owners can register with the FAA to limit the release of their ADS-B data on two levels: 1) "for FAA use only", and 2) allowing commercial apps to use the data "for their business purposes", but still requiring them to keep it private. Otherwise, without a specific request to the FAA, your aircraft's movement data is release publically to all for any purpose, really. Finally, it is possible/legal to install a physical switch (usually near your ADS-B transponder) that makes your tail number show the word "Private" via commercial sources, but the FAA will ALWAYS GET ALL THE DATA.
David Stark 1
ADS-B does not transmit the registration, only the hex code. Registration info comes from the databases of the various licensing administrations around the world.
Ray Toews 2
Why does the Govt feel it is okay to provide flite/aircraft info to the public but not automobile license numbers?
John Taylor 3
I'm not sure you understand how ADS-B works. But you may have something about making tail numbers/ license plate numbers public/private information.
David Rice 2
I don't know about "feelings", but the FAA charter states that one of its main purposes is to promote the aviation industry in the US, so it's not at all surprising that my aircraft ownership data (tied to an N-number and a transponder HEX) is made available to anyone who wants to "do business". The state DOT has no such mandate and that's who has my license plate number.
coinflyer 6
I believe a right to privacy is fundamental in a free society. As linbb so aptly put it, would you like a tracker on your car that freely told everyone in the world where you went, where you parked, when, and live and in realtime? This concern is no different for private planes than for private cars.
jeff slack 6
"would you like a tracker on your car that freely told everyone in the world where you went, where you parked, when, and live and in real-time?"

Got a mobile device in your pocket (?) then you are being tracked; like it or not.

If you have Google on your phone; it tracks you in real-time and broadcasts that info.
When you enter a retail store, the store's system immediately detects you and it is via Google that it publishes online if the store is busy at that time or not based on the number of pings going through the door.
Torsten Hoff 11
>> If you have Google on your phone; it tracks you in real-time and broadcasts that info.

One major difference is that your location information isn't publicly available. It's anonymously aggregated for things like highway traffic levels and how busy a store or restaurant are at a particular time, but I can't search Google and see where Jeff Slack was last Saturday or where he is at this moment.
David Stark 1
There are apps that do just that.
Mike Donovan 7
You buy a Tesla car and they track it every second
David Stark 2
The "right to privacy" only applies as against governmental intrusion. If you want privacy from other private citizens, it is up to you to protect it, not them.
btweston 3
Did you type that on your smart phone?
Jaina Brown 4
Isn't tracking flights part over an overall safety protocol? If planes were flying around invisible, wouldn't that cause safety issues? Seems like there is a reason for tracking in the first place that serves everyone in the air.
If I am driving my car on the public street, other drivers can see me. If I am flying a plane, I don't want to wait until I see another aircraft to avoid running into it. I am not a pilot. It just seems to me that sometimes we have to put aside our personal issues for the overall good, Mr. Musk.
sprint113 3
I think there were some groups suggesting adding encryption or some form of obfuscation to ADS-B, similar to a lot of police radios. Right now, you can use what is basically a cheap USB TV tuner to receive the ADS-B signals in your area, which you can then share with online sources. Adding those things would make it harder for non-pilots to receive the ADS-B data. There are some somewhat reasonable arguments for it, either for privacy reasons (or people trying to hide themselves), and public safety reasons. Flightaware addresses those by allowing planes to be removed from their tracking and having the feed on a delay while ADSBExchange doesn't do any of that as far as I know.
James Cross 2
My ADS-B receiver when flying will still pick up data from private jets, as it's unfiltered. They're only being hidden from public view (which is a shame, imo) - but from a safety standpoint, nothing is changed. ADS-B will still function in the air exactly as designed.
sprint113 1
I think there were some groups suggesting adding encryption or some form of obfuscation to ADS-B, similar to a lot of police radios. Right now, you can use what is basically a cheap USB TV tuner to receive the ADS-B signals in your area, which you can provide to online sources. Adding those things would make it harder for non-pilots to receive the ADS-B data. There are some somewhat reasonable arguments for it, either for privacy reasons (or people trying to hide themselves), and public safety reasons. Flightaware addresses those by allowing planes to be removed from their tracking and having the feed on a delay while ADSBExchange doesn't do any of that as far as I know.
StephenV 0
"I am not a pilot"

Say it ain't so... 🤣
Joe Serdynski 4
Why are they trying to hide ? ? ?
Mike Williams 1
Always act like someone if capture your every act. Like your GOD.
Fred Ensminger 2
I think it's funny that all of you think that just because a 'famous person' owns an aircraft - that every time that craft flies, that 'famous owner' is on it.
Reality is less that half the time a celebrity-ownd aircraft flies the actual owner is ON that aircraft.

I also LOVE IT every time I read an irresposible writer say "And its users are furious.".
QUOTE ME 5 or 6 serious people that are 'furious' - unless it is the writer's co-workers or friends, Few, if anyone, is 'furious'.
Pedro Don 1
Fact No.1
When you fly your plane, you have to rely on public infrastructure, like ATCs. Hence, you must comply with regulations, you must share your datas required by law.

Fact No.2
As the plane is your private property, you have the right to limit revealing details about its whereabouts. In some extent.

Fact No.3
If you are one of the super-riches, you can be a target of one of the super-crazies. Hence, you have the right to hide your whereabouts. And it also is your best interest.

Fact No.4
If you are one of the 10 richest person of the world, you are way more exposed to the super-crazies, like kidnappers, gold-miners, or assassins than a regular 9-to-5 fellow. Hence, you have to be way more focused on your safety than others. But on the other hand, you have way more resources to comply with these needs.

Fact No.5
If there are solutions to hide your whereabouts (like FR24) while flying, you should pay for it. Because you get a service.

Finally something that is non-factual:
If these student fellas do not break the law publishing publicly available datas and you are one of the super-targeted super-riches, work hard, or harder, or even harder, or bloody-super-hard to find a solution for the satisfaction of all involved.

This is not that complicated. Or is it?
Billy Koskie 0
I don't want to be tracked in my car. If I had a plane, I wouldn't want to be tracked in a plane. Travelling within the US should be a private activity.
Fred Ensminger 1
I LOVE IT every time I read an irresposible writer say "And its users are furious.".
QUOTE ME 5 or 6 serious people that are 'furious' - unless it is the writer's co-workers or friends, Few, if anyone, is 'furious'.
linbb -6
Best thing that could happen is to make it private so people can move around without worring about being tracked. That is a real problem for many people its like putting trackers on everyones cars.
sparkie624 13
Why... My taxes pay for it... It is public data, and it has made Air Travel safer, When I fly my plane, I can see planes close to me before they are in visual range... Your statement is foolish. My airplane transmits this data, and it Receives this data to help keep me and others around me safe. You are obviously not a Pilot, so you do not understand how things work.
gacoon 1
Sparkie do you know how adsb works - sure you can see them, but did you know when they filed, where they are going, etc. Also VFR guys can set up an ingognito output, thats the 1200 guys you occsionally see on your traffic screen, Lots of good reasons to keep things private.
StephenV 1
Not to mention the thousands of aircraft still flying around without ADSB-OUT or even a transponder. Way too many pilots think that their ASDB-IN display makes them bulletproof when, in fact, it only helps to keep them from scanning for traffic.
StephenV 0
Faarrr too many pilots like you rely on ADSB for traffic visualization. Stop staring at the screen and start looking out the window.
Dan Golembeski 0
When you're CEO of a publicly traded you really expect to be able to fly around incognito? And to boot, one that sells products touted as "low greenhouse gas emissions"? He obviously chose the wrong profession, maybe he should be a spy for the state department.
Mike Gerard 0
So the rich don't want us to know where they go!
Ren Babcock 1
The biggest issue is security. With MANPADS it would be very easy to take the aircraft down if you know which one of the thousands in the sky is carrying the person you want.
chugheset 1
If you have access to MANPADS you likely have the ability to locate your target without ADS-B Exchange. Remember, just because it's Elon's plane up there doesn't mean he is on it. I heard he once loaned it to Justin Bieber. I bet you would feel pretty silly if you accidently blew him out of the sky.
StephenV 2
Yahhh.... accidentally... That's what happened... accidentally. :-D
John Taylor 0
"I thought it was Musk! I swear! I didn't mean to shoot down Justin Bieber, honest! It was an accident. Reeeeeee"
avionik99 -4
Just make the data private for non commercial aircraft. Problem solved.
Greg S -3
The only way to make it private is for aircraft to stop broadcasting ADS-B data. The protocol has no confidentiality so anybody can capture and share it. However, Congress could pass laws making it illegal to record ADS-B transmissions and that would dry up the ADB-B exchange.
chugheset 5
Yes, get Congress involved, that will fix it. Yikes!
David Stark 1
Receiving and/or sharing such data is already illegal in several countries. The ones you don't want to live in.
Roy Hunte 1
Many private aircraft appear as BLOCKED on FR24 and others, it must be a setting the pilot can turn on.
Bernie20910 6
I operate a receiving station for FR24. (K-NYG1) The blocking is done by FR24 as a corporate policy, not by any kind of setting or regulation. If you want FR24 to block your data they will do so, for a fee, upon request. The data is also on 15-minute time delay.
paul trubits 3
When Trump was campaigning for President the first time he flew his private jet into our local airport KSBY. It did not show up on Flight Aware
DaveRK 1
Interesting I used to see N757AF cross the skies often.
N107Sugar 2
I just checked on FlightAware and you are incorrect. Says it’s private.
John White 0
Starlink helping Ukraine ? Putin might take advantage to down an enemy?
David Stark 2
If the President of Russia wants to know where an airplane is, he doesn't need a privately-run hobby network to find out.
Looking for a sponsor to continue flight training
Pls dm 🙏✈️✈️✈️


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