My plane is actually not trackable without using non-public data
This is a part of an ongoing controversy surrounding the bans on accounts posting the location of his private jet.
Can the location of said jet be obtained using public data alone?
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Musk should be enrolled in the PIA program.
But as mentioned in this article, it looks like they're using past behaviours to track him.
From the article:
It’s a laborious process, and codes cannot be changed more than once every 60 days. This means they can be of limited utility, since astute observers might be able to use other clues to figure out an aircraft owner’s identify. Musk takes part in the PIA program, so some of his supporters have argued that Sweeney isn’t using publicly available information. But his plane’s well-known past behavior was a dead giveaway. “Elon Musk, for example, has a Gulfstream and there’s only so many people that fly that particular plane out of Brownsville,” Sweeney told the website Insider.
Yes, it does appear to be trackable with only publicly available data and it appears that Elon Musk is making various requests to make it harder to track his flights.
The start of the article mentions a program he applied to that makes it harder to track his flights.
Elon Musk has banned the Twitter accounts of the app that tracked his jet, the creator of that app and several high-profile reporters who covered the story. He has even, apparently, applied for a new FAA program, which makes it harder to track his plane.
The ADS-B Exchange is a public site to track flights all around the world and it is my understanding that a lot of journalists use it when they need to track flights.
Musk has long disliked ElonJet tracker, which uses publicly available data gathered from ADS-B exchange, a larger hobbyist site that assembles publicly available data from the transponders of different aircraft. However, he promised when he took over Twitter that he would not ban the account, in the name of free speech.
As a side note while it isn't relevant to the question about tracking planes it seems this reaction came after Musk thought a stalker went after a vehicle that his two year old son was in. (Whether there was indeed a stalker is unclear.)
On Wednesday, Musk alleged a car carrying his two-year-old son X was followed by a “crazy stalker (thinking it was me)” on Dec. 13, who blocked and climbed on the hood of one of the vehicles. He followed up the allegation by saying that he was would take legal action against Jack Sweeney, creator of the app and a freshman at the University of Central Florida. Suspensions of several journalists’ Twitter accounts soon followed.
ADS-B Exchange rightfully calls itself “the world’s largest source of unfiltered flight data.” The key word is “unfiltered,” meaning that the site relies on ADS-B signals and does not filter out information about US aircraft that have requested anonymity through the US government, which makes it attractive to journalists. As the only tracking service to do this, ADS-B Exchange has proved to be a disruptive force in the tracking industry since it was started by US pilot Dan Streufert. Billing itself a cooperative, ADS-B Exchange relies on a worldwide community of more than 2,000 people who send in real-time MLAT and ADS-B data. This is uploaded on a searchable website. It’s free for non-commercial use (contributions requested). Commercial users are required to license the data.
Musk's jet operates comercially, and registers its flight plans, which are a matter of public record in the US (Source). His jet also uses a transponder which broadcasts on a publicly available channel ("All planes have to have a transponder which shows their locations, so the information is public", The Independent).