“It is certainly not a misplaced curiosity that is making the public interested in these robberies”

HASn July, the six private jets of the main French groups (Bouygues, Bolloré, Artémis, Decaux and Arnault) made fifty-three flights and emitted 520 tons of COtwo, or the equivalent of the emissions of an average Frenchman for fifty-two years. This alarming report comes from the Twitter account @i_fly_Bernardwhich tracks the travel of private planes owned by various manufacturers.

Doubtful, the general public wonders, outraged and frightened by such a way of life and the lack of consideration for climate change that so much travel reveals. Given the popularity of these accounts and the resulting outrage, it is not surprising to read in an AFP dispatch that billionaires would be “irritated by online tracking of their private jets”. But where does the data for this monitoring come from and can it be freely used?

Unlike a land route, the sky is not physically bounded. To guarantee safety in the air and that planes cross without risk, technical and human resources have been put into operation. Therefore, various technologies are used to track aircraft movements, including the ADS-B system. Since December 2020 it is mandatory to fly over the European sky.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Flight tracking, a new tool for environmentalists to denounce the impact of air transport

Transparency of air traffic information is essential, both for air traffic controllers and pilots; It is one of the pillars of security. That is why this data is sent over unencrypted channels and therefore can be read by anyone with a radio receiver. While the data collected by air traffic controllers is accessible to a limited number of people, tools like the popular Flightradar24 allow the general public to track aircraft in real time. Based on official data and the collective collaboration of thousands of receivers around the planet, this site is widely used by the curious and aviation enthusiasts. However, the tool agrees, upon request, to remove information related to certain devices. Thus, thanks to another site, Adsbexchange.com, which refuses to operate such filtering, various Twitter accounts follow the private planes of French groups, generate their trajectories and offer an estimate of COtwo issued for each flight.

decisive interest

While everyone agrees on the importance and necessity of air traffic data, its reuse for other purposes irritates the owners of these aircraft. Some do not hesitate to defend themselves, invoking the right to respect for private life. It is true that the Court of Cassation (first civil chamber, October 23, 1990) recognizes that Every person, whatever his rank, birth, fortune, present or future functions, has the right to respect for his private life. ». Of course, billionaires also have a right to privacy. However, the privacy protection argument for these trips is not convincing, for several reasons.

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Dennis Alvarado

"Total social media fan. Travel maven. Evil coffee nerd. Extreme zombie specialist. Wannabe baconaholic. Organizer."

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