Earlier this year, a teen hacker created a system that tracked the location of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Created to show how effective modern tech is at tracking individuals, the hacker has now re-used that tech to track Russian oligarchs.
Teen Hacker vs Russian Oligarchs
Reported by Insider, 19-year-old hacker Jack Sweeney has formed a new Twitter account called Russian Oligarch Jets. The account gives followers a real-time update on the location of Russia's wealthiest people, all due to their excessive wealth.
Just like with the hacker’s Elon Musk tracker, the tracker works through following the wealthy’s private vehicles. Due to the public nature of vehicle records, the automated account can update the movement of every private jet, helicopter and yachts owned by oligarchs.
Sweeney's automated account offers landings and takeoffs of vehicles owned by oligarchs like Roman Abramovich and Leonard Blavatnik.
Additionally, the hacker also has a separate account tracking vehicles that may be used by Vladimir Putin. However, due to the secretive nature of which of Putin's many planes hold the Russian president, this account is more inaccurate.
The Twitter accounts show just how distant the actions of the rich are during times of crisis. While Russia invades Ukraine, killing innocents, Russia's richest are still globe-trotting without a care in the world. For example, the bot shows that billionaire Roman Abramovich has recently taken a trip to the Caribbean.
Will this help America seize assets?
Sweeney’s Twitter bots are not intended to bring harm to any of the Russian billionaires they track. However, the technology could actually end up helping the United States government continue sanctions against Russia.
In a statement from The White House, it was announced that the United States will be working to punish Russian billionaires for the attack on Ukraine. Additionally, the sale of citizenship to the rich will be limited to wealthy Russians.
The White House announced:
“This coming week, we will launch a multilateral Transatlantic task force to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs – their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law.”
Possibly unintentionally, Sweeney’s data could prove invaluable to the United States’ hunt. While the teen hacker may not have created the automated Twitter account for that purpose, it could end up being used in that way.