Jetnet Acquires ADS-B Exchange, a community-fed ADSB aggregator

257 points15
dmd14 hours ago

Did their acquisition price factor in the % of people who will stop feeding because of this? It's one thing to feed a free open source project it's another to give free labor to Silversmith Capital.

mindcrime14 hours ago

I mean, if I were providing one of these feeds, I'd probably shut it down and look for (or create) a new community-driven alternative.

capableweb12 hours ago

I chose to contribute my collected ADS-B data to ADS-B Exchange rather than Flightradar24 just because ADS-B Exchange was community driven and not owned by a company.

I just turned off my sharing and looking for alternatives. If anyone know of any, please share them :)

LVDOVICVS2 hours ago

I just heard about

"The OpenSky Network is a non-profit community-based receiver network which has been continuously collecting air traffic surveillance data since 2013. Unlike other networks, OpenSky keeps the complete unfiltered raw data and makes it accessible to academic and institutional researchers."

nerpderp8212 hours ago


Operyl12 hours ago
mike_d12 hours ago

I helped out a bit with ADSBExchange. The all volunteer staff were completely blindsided by this. The founder just took a payday and ran.

For what it is worth, I don't actually know what the PE company bought. I guess the historical data and a rack full of servers - but the staff, community, and service are moving elsewhere.

nocoiner11 hours ago

One would think there would be recent lessons to be learned on how to vaporize value in connection with an asset-light acquisition… Actually, the guy who sold probably did learn those lessons. Best of luck to the buyer, I suppose.

kuschku7 hours ago

Sounds just like freenode 2.0. Some investor buying the domain, and everyone else just moving on to a new project.

tpmx11 hours ago

The founder is Dan Streufert. (From the linked press release.)

0x4578 hours ago

Can't blame the founder, though. I would have done the same.

wkat42429 hours ago

Really good to know!! I'll join them.

totoglazer11 hours ago

Where to?

dx03410 hours ago

Opensky seems to be the only non profit network left?

KirillPanov10 hours ago
dgacmu14 hours ago

Some are likely to, but remember that feeding is a mutual exchange - sites that you feed to generally give you a free, no ads account. I feed both ADS-B exchange and flightaware for this reason. Although I will admit that the flight aware app is more useful unless you're interested in unfiltered data. Contributing to an unfiltered source is one motivation, but it's one of several.

prova_modena13 hours ago

ADS-B Exchange used to have another incentive to feed in the form of free API access, subject to certain limits and for noncommercial use only. They stopped that a year or two ago, I believe because various commercial operations kept abusing it.

jdubner4 hours ago

Not true -- I currently access the API to obtain an aggregated feed in exchange for my feeding ADSB-X with my receivers (1090 and 978 MHz). You have to ask for access and it's poorly documented but it works and feeds my own local tracking site running 24.7.

prova_modena3 hours ago

They specifically removed the text on the website saying you can get API access from feeding, replaced this with a link to their paid RapidAPI (under "Enthusiast Usage Terms") and no longer automatically give you API access with an active feeder key. That seems like a pretty clear message even if they made an exception for you. Besides, how long do you think your free access will last under the new ownership?

EDIT: In their FAQ it currently states: "In very limited situations may choose to allow non-profit, research, or educational entities access to the historical data or API at reduced fee, in these situations such entities must meet all other requirements including hosting a feeder. API pricing is a fraction of the cost of ADS-B data available anywhere else." To me that is quite different than their previous policy of providing automatic noncommercial API access to anyone hosting a feeder. It removes an incentive to feed and discourages use of the API.

jvanvleet13 hours ago

This is my situation as well. If you travel a lot, having something light Flightaware giving you more detailed information about what is really happening with your flight or airport is wonderful and starting a feed was a fun way to get more features.

sokoloff13 hours ago

I have a basic (free) Flightaware account. I can't imagine anything relevant to commercial airliner travel that I'd need that I don't get from that free account. Is there something I'm missing?

(I totally get the fun aspect and it's fairly cheap to put a receiver up.)

Scoundreller11 hours ago

Lots of interesting stuff outside of commercial airliners.

Flightaware (and FR24) censors (for a fee).

I remember emailing a journo covering a protest to look up and observe the plane circling around.

But ultimately they’re different services: Adsb is vessel focussed, while FA/FR24 are flight# focussed.

Want to find out what routes your aircraft typically flies? Adsb will be the place to check.

Want to see if your flight is typically on-time? FA/FR24.

james_pm12 hours ago

From FR24, you get two years of historical data for starters.

dgacmu13 hours ago

the only value for me is having no ads. which is, in fact, something i value, but not at the $80/month it would take to subscribe for. But it's worth sending my feed.

samstave13 hours ago

Need a list of all private jet tail numbers from DAVOS/WEF and have a tracking system for those... like the Elon tracker

Zigurd13 hours ago

That's part of why an unfiltered ADS-B exchange is valuable. You can track senior executives and try to get ahead of the news. Flying in to Davos is pretty uninteresting compared with travel to factories, competitors' offices, mining operations, international travel, etc. It gives you an idea what executives are thinking about doing.

wpietri14 hours ago

I might feel similarly, especially given my distaste for private equity. But in the AIS (ship tracking) space, commercial versions seem to do ok. MarineTraffic runs its own blatantly commercial effort. And is not commercial itself, but it is run by Astra Paging, which definitely is.

I run a receiver that feeds into both networks, and in both cases I look at it as a value-for-value exchange.

Kalibr14 hours ago

Probably to eliminate the open source competition if anything.

notahacker14 hours ago

afaik JetNet hasn't offered a competing service before: their focus is on business jet fleet and transaction related data (I worked for what could loosely be described as a competitor)

The data has some value in supporting that core product (as an additional data feed to sell a handful of enterprise clients, to support their fleet data research and possibly to enhance their FBO/charter products). I guess part of the appeal of ADS-B Exchange is that working in business aviation, an unfiltered dataset is a lot more useful to them than a filtered one like most of the commercial providers.

Still seems like a slightly odd acquisition, since they could have got the data beforehand relatively inexpensively and they'd probably get better feed coverage leaving it as an OS project and I do wonder how they'll manage privacy requests from some of their clients...

error50311 hours ago

Perhaps enabling them to censor the feed is one of the primary reasons for the acquisition. I can't imagine it was that expensive, considering the likes of whom might take issue with the data being public.

brookst11 hours ago
notahacker9 hours ago

The information is already publicly broadcast; nobody's paying one particular feed company big bucks to remove it from their records when most others do it simply because they ask nicely or because they don't want to upset the government. And even without the feeds, if a guy with a device somewhere near an airport decides to tweet that Elon has landed, everybody knows anyway.

sschueller13 hours ago

Well I for one will stop feeding them.

lsllc14 hours ago

I wonder if this was done to stop trackers like @ElonJet since ADS-B Exchange doesn't seem to support the "privacy" requests of the rich & famous as FlightAware / FlightRadar24 et al do.

sftomato12 hours ago

Let's not forget that thanks to adsb-exchange, authorities were also able to track Jeffrey Epstein's private jets.

mlindner10 hours ago

All of this information is public and known to the government. ADBS Exchange didn't provide anything that wasn't already available.

trothamel9 hours ago

To the government. Having this available to journalists (and people to check the journalist's work) is also useful.

mlindner9 hours ago

Sure, but the comment I replied to was about "the authorities".

bahbahbahblah9 hours ago


cobertos14 hours ago

Interestingly, ADS-B Exchange's twitter is suspended when I looked to see if there was any news updates there

wkat42429 hours ago

That's because they pissed off Elon by supplying the source data for ElonJet. He's been on a banning spree for weeks. Anyone who so much as mentioned the account would get the banhammer.

cactusplant73749 hours ago

You can still post the link with TinyURL or another URL shortener.

mlindner10 hours ago

They're not requests, they're mandated by US law. Also it's not limited to rich and famous. Anyone can do it. Only the rich and famous seem to have passionate enough haters that they actively try to subvert the privacy protections.

ranger20710 hours ago

AIUI it's mandated by US law if you use data from the FAA's system, and ADS-B Exchange didn't use the FAA's data so wasn't required to hide things on the privacy list

nocoiner10 hours ago

What’s the saying? The law, in its majestic equality, prohibits both the rich and the poor from sleeping on the streets?

Something like that.

yardie14 hours ago

One of the first projects I created with the Raspberry Pi Model A was setup a SDR listening station. Then I wrote some software and downloaded software to listen and stream ADS-B data to a few aggregators. One of them was ADS-B Exchange. The other was ADS-B Hub[0]. The later is still free and still open source.


H8crilA11 hours ago

Thanks, I'm switching my feeds from the shitty people behind ADSBExchange.

commandersaki4 hours ago

Just to be clear it’s the owner/founder that’s being shitty. The people behind running the infrastructure are against the acquisition. It’s also unclear whether they’re getting paid (enough) to transition the servers to the new company.

prova_modena13 hours ago

Well, dang. I have been maintaining a Twitter bot that uses the ADS-B Exchange API, but paused development after Musk started going after ElonJet aggressively and Twitter began to ban aircraft tracking accounts. I just restarted work this week to implement Mastodon support, but looks like I need to pause again to reassess what ADS-B data source(s) to support.

I would really like to know the story behind this acquisition as my previous interactions with the ADS-B Exchange owner (edit: after checking back in on the discord maybe this person was not the owner, but one of the main team members) on discord were positive and they seemed like a very passionate and principled person. This was like more than 1 year ago now, though. My suspicion is that the loud, polarized public discourse around the ElonJet controversy, which led to ADS-B Exchange getting banned from Twitter, may have caused them to reassess their priorities. I hope they are not under any kind of legal threat from Musk.

femboy13 hours ago

The Discord link on ADSBExchange points to a server called " Enthusiasts" - going to the website shows:

> Airframes is an aircraft-related aggregation service that receives ACARS, VDL, HFDL, and SATCOM data from volunteers around the world.

> It is under very active development and you will notice changes from day to day. Also, issues are expected.

> Contributing your feed allows us to make ground developing new decoders and make important statistical observations. It also benefits users of the service so that they can see more about flights as they traverse covered territories.

Perhaps the original founders' work will continue here?

EDIT: It does not seem like the original founders has collaborated with the community on this, and the people there are just as lost as anyone else.

cobertos13 hours ago

The discord was originally the ADSBExchange discord, but, I believe a mod has taken control, banned the person who owned/sold ADSBExchange (Dan Streufert) and made a bunch of announcements. The mod used to have Outlook email access on the original domain, so it seems like there's kind of a shakeup going on as well

It's kind of chaos currently. I only joined this Discord in December and it was very different then. It seemed to be pretty community oriented, with images for RaspPi and scripts to help setup feeding and the developers of these tools were in there chatting. Not company employed people to my knowledge.

nocoiner13 hours ago

I don’t mind feeding FlightAware and Flightradar24 - they’re for-profit companies, and are clear about the terms of exchange something of (dubious) value for the data they receive.

This feels a lot more skeezy. Oh well, fool me once, and all that. I do look forward to shutting down my feed once I’m back in front of a computer.

Something something, why we can’t have nice things.

james_pm12 hours ago

Same. I get value back from FR24 in the form of a Business subscription which gives me a TON of data and access I wouldn't be able to afford. I fed ADS-B Exchange for nothing because it seemed like a nice thing to do to benefit the wider tracking community. To have the founder cash out and sell OUR data without even talking to the community first? That really rubbed me the wrong way. I stopped feeding about an hour ago.

Havoc9 hours ago

Also doing same re FR24 and biz sub. Curious what data you use from it though? I haven't had much use for it frankly

james_pm8 hours ago

I'm interested in a lot of different forms of transportation as a hobby. Photography, tracking, etc. Being able to see the flight history of a specific airframe is interesting to me or going back and looking at past flights. Fleets is another feature I use. For example, I've been interested in trying to get photos of the new E915-E2 jets that Porter Airlines is adding so I've created a "fleet" and can easily track the whereabouts in the hopes of being able to catch one in flight to photograph.

Havoc6 hours ago

Got it. Thanks

zymhan6 hours ago

FlightAware was less skeezy before they were bought by L3 Harris. I'm not in this hobby to help out defense contractors.

ADSBx are still far worse, since they built the site as an "open community".

devstar5 hours ago

Your remark about FlightAware being owned by L3 Harris piqued my interest since I was not aware of this. I took a look at their About section and it seems they are actually owned by Collins Aerospace a subsidiary of Raytheon. Does not change your point but just a small correction and I also learned something new.

metadaemon13 hours ago

These were already very skeezy guys if you interacted with them on Discord.

nocoiner12 hours ago

I think I’m on their server, but I don’t think I ever really interacted with them. In retrospect, I suppose I should have and gotten a better sense of their character (which is why I’m being a bit more careful in evaluating whether I start feeding anyone new).

Too bad that every TOS out there basically boils down to “we own your data to the maximum extent that doesn’t create any liability for us (but if it does, you’ll indemnify us) and we can change these terms at any time.” Makes it hard to do a proper assessment of what exactly you’re stepping into.

metadaemon11 hours ago

In my experience they were weirdly hostile about a question about supporting live WebSocket feeds of incoming data. SoylentADSB had developed one of those trivial chat applications you do when learning about WebSockets and flamed me for even asking.

When I questioned him about it he got very defensive and started resorting to personal attacks. By the end the the discussion he had deleted all of the pertaining chat messages from Discord, which I found childish. If you read past logs of his conversations, he's notorious for acting like that with people asking legitimate questions.

In my opinion, that's the exact opposite type of person that you want running this sort of thing that is essentially propped up by the community. It's a skeevy model today because they actually profit off of what the community provides. Ideally, this would all be open sourced and run by some governance board just like any successful open sourced venture.

robbiet48014 hours ago

Already seeing a lot of people in ADS-B Discords saying they are cutting off their feeds because they feel sold out.

theyknowitsxmas13 hours ago

Everyone is moving to

Also this from SoylentADSB:

> CEO of JETNET ( Greg Fell, now fired from JETNET by Silversmith) called and asked for a meeting. We thought was sales call. Turns out he offered to buy ADSBx from Dan for $8M, they wined dined and toured him around. Flew him to Boston, Dan cut us out when we ALL OBJECTED to a sale. We think they gave him $20M ish and a $200 a year job at JETNET. They'll fire him in a year, that's what PE does.

BizarreByte11 hours ago

I can understand the community upset, but honestly? I wouldn’t be able to say no to that amount of money. I could retire tomorrow on that much.

kelnos8 hours ago

Yeah, unless I was still unreasonably passionate about running an open and free service like that, I'd be hard-pressed to turn down that offer.

I'd feel bad about it, definitely, as I do agree it'd be a slap in the face to the community, and I'd know that I'd probably never get people to trust me in the role of running that sort of a service again. Not to mention burning bridges with the community members who helped run the service.

But $20M? I'm lucky that I've already built up a nice nest egg through the whole FIRE thing, but $20M (even after taxes) would take me from "can live a pretty comfortable life without working as long as I watch my finances" to "can live an amazing life without working, and will never have to worry about money ever again".

I'm not sure what terms ADS-B Exchange licensed out the collected data, but maybe it's even possible for someone to build a new service, and keep the historical data intact. Even if not, it seems like there is at least one other community-run service for people who are upset by this to switch to. And frankly this doesn't seem like a particularly difficult or expensive service to build or maintain.

wkat42428 hours ago

Perhaps it's legal but it's not ethical for a founder to sell something that's provided by thousands of volunteers (I'm sure a lot of the code was as well as the data)

BuildTheRobots8 hours ago
metadaemon8 hours ago

Also questionable that they were even selling this content provided by volunteers to begin with. I'm personally excited for the future and hoping for more honest and open practices in this space.

blantonl8 hours ago

I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far. That would be like complaining Twitter sold to Facebook.

H8crilA11 hours ago

Indeed. There must be safeguards to prevent something like this, the incentive is too strong. Kinda like what GPL does to the code.

aeharding11 hours ago

Like decentralization? That's the main reason I am now on the Fediverse (via Elk + self hosting), because a billionaire cannot just scoop it up and change the rules of the game.

RobotToaster11 hours ago

I assume you mean $200k?

Is it normal for a company like that to more than double their initial offer? I know 20m is probably pocket change to them, but it still seems like they were rather desperate to buy it.

cjrp9 hours ago

Unless they’d decided to pay up to $50m. Then starting at 10 and ending at 20 doesn’t seem so bad.

metadaemon12 hours ago

That guy is such a whiner

cunninglinguine3 hours ago


myself24814 hours ago

Is the codebase open / is anyone spinning up an alternative yet?

notahacker14 hours ago

Not sure how it matches feature for feature, but has been crowdsourcing unfiltered ADSB data for longer, provides tools to view the data and supplies full API access to the raw data to academics and non-profits at no charge.

There's room for another provider, and at the same time lots of enthusiasts with the boxes will carry on sending it, like they do to other closed source, profit-making ventures like FlightAware and Flightradar24...

myself24814 hours ago

Alright, so OpenSky and ADSB Hub are the two I've learned about so far in this thread. Very cool.

mike_d11 hours ago
toomuchtodo14 hours ago

Anyone want to work together on spinning up a non profit replacement with governance that prohibits a transfer of ownership to a for profit entity?

wpietri14 hours ago

I run an AIS receiver and have previously run a technical co-op. I am happy to chat, although I don't have time to do much direct labor right now. But the first questions I'd want to answer:

1) What will participants get out of it?

2) How will you pay for the central services used?

3) Where there isn't enough volunteer labor, how will you pay for needed labor?

I don't want to discourage anybody, but there are some hard sustainability problems there.

toomuchtodo13 hours ago

Great questions. I have never run a non profit myself (but run several small business ventures, real estate investments, have previously owned and sold a small technology company), but view it as an optimal structure to support technology services like this that are intended as a public good or utility versus something that is going to get flipped to someone that is going to extract the value out of it (investors like PE and similar). I want to build where there can be no rug pull for stakeholders.

1. The same they got out of ADS-B Exchange: open aviation data. I would work with the Internet Archive to archive batches of the data stream on a cadence. We should never be able to take historical data away. It is yours, forever.

2. I would pay for a dedicated server out of my pocket to bootstrap, with the eventual goal of accumulating enough donations to have a very small non profit investment account that would throw off just enough returns to pay for the server(s) or a rack of equipment at a colo indefinitely (I’m partial to Hurricane Electric but any reasonable priced vendor will do). Again, strong governance around this as a US non profit to demonstrate transparency and efficiency. I would also accept equipment, colo, and bandwidth donations from folks who could ensure consistency, quality, and continuity of the resource.

3. We would rely primarily on volunteers, similar to OpenStreetMap, who runs lean fiscally speaking [1]. The Internet Archive runs their servers for 5-7 years (per u/jonah-archive's ops talk), so I would shoot for a long bare metal depreciation schedule, a time series database stored in Backblaze B2, high level just an efficient use of capital for the technology components. I suppose I'm going back into an on call rotation. C'est la vie. Automate All The Things.

Poke holes in my thoughts, that's how they improve. I would also be interested in expanding into the AIS space; it's all UDP packets from SDRs coming into a software router and logger (with a visualization and admin frontend).


reachableceo7 hours ago

I have infrastructure (my own fully private small colo) and a vested permanent commercial interest in an open exchange/aggregator or whatever this is called. for anyone who is serious about this.

My commercial interest is a free software / hardware (with itar exception) high altitude balloon startup that I’m the CTO/founder of .

wpietri12 hours ago

Great starter thoughts! Thanks for contributing them.

I'd be interested to see if the Internet Archive wants large globs of this kind of data. I actually have something like 5 years of AIS data that I've been collecting and I'd be happy to contribute it.

I totally agree with you on transparency and efficiency.

Taking donations is a chancy model. People get excited up front, but ongoing expenses requires ongoing begging unless you get really lucky with the amount of money raised up front. And even then, as Wikipedia shows, people tend to get ideas about using the money to do more stuff. As someone else suggested, a revenue-driven model might be more sustainable.

The co-op I helped run was Bandwagon. We rented a cabinet and then shared it out among a bunch of sysadmins who wanted their own boxes on the internet. This started circa 2001, when single-box hosting was rare and virtual hosting was nonexistent. We wound it up a few years ago as most of the people moved to the cloud.

My experience is that people's motivations change over time, and so actually owning hardware is risky if you want to avoid the one-person-in-Nebraska problem. [1]


andiareso13 hours ago

I'm interested in helping as well (software engineer). This is such a loss for the community. Like other's have stated, ADS-B exchange didn't have to follow the privacy requests as they didn't aggregate FAA data so it remained open. I'm wondering what the future will hold with the new ownership.

notahacker13 hours ago

Depending on what sort of commercial arrangements participants were happy with, the obvious fundraising options are selling value added services or derived data on top or classic FOSS 'sponsorship' with corporate partners (hard to get for a new project in this space). That doesn't guarantee sustainability of course, particularly with there being a lot of competition in this sector with good coverage already.

(FWIW I'm happy to chat: have sold non-ADSB aviation data and consulting before and been involved with buying ADSB and AIS from a commercial provider)

wpietri12 hours ago

Having been both on the buy and sell side is a very valuable perspective to include.

Do you have a sense of where some good dividing lines are between what to give to the general public, what contributors get, and what is marketable?

As an example, AISHub data contributors get a free real-time stream of global data in the same format that comes out of an AIS receiver. They also get limited API access:

On top of that, the company that runs AISHub sells both software and data services:

notahacker9 hours ago

Dividing lines would depend to a large extent on what contributors want, particularly if it's set to be a nonprofit with a FOSS ethos.

Potentially a lot of the value comes from providing specific cuts of the data for specific purposes to companies (statistics on aircraft hours and cycles for companies supplying parts and maintenance, trend analysis). There are of course already authoritative sources that specialise in that, but they're relatively expensive, and a lot of the commercial customers want Excel files with prepared data tables for their commercial use, not API access to a stream that probably needs some cleaning up. Selling that value add stuff is compatible with making the core data streams open. The rest obviously comes from API access (which you'd likely want to limit to some extent so consumer web and mobile apps aren't hammering them for data)

Marketability is going to depend a huge amount on whether it's possible to get enough people on board to get good coverage, bearing in mind there are plenty of ADS-B data aggregation services out there (and they tend to have historical data going back several years, with the more commercially oriented ones having sales teams and full service customer support)

blantonl9 hours ago

I own (currently unused) and would be glad to donate the domain and leadership expertise in governance and managing crowdsourced type sites (i own and manage and you can contact me through my profile

lsllc4 hours ago is a great site, thank you for running it!

nocoiner11 hours ago

I’d be interested in helping out. I have experience with corporate governance and setting up transfer-restricted entities, though unfortunately not so much experience with setting up non-profits (though I have served on non-profit boards).

That said, I can also think of a few ways you might be able to structure a successor that can’t exit like this, without having to deal with the headache of qualification and compliance as a non-profit. Interesting thought exercise.

Awelton4 hours ago

Looks like I am going to stop feeding then. Donating electricity and bandwidth to an open source project and donating to a massive corporation just aren't the same thing. Pay me and I will turn it back on, but until then I guess it is going to sit idle.

myself24814 hours ago

Well, fuck.

Companies eat things to kill them because it works. Only some fraction of users will jump to the alternative, and indeed the alternative never ends up as strong as the original.

Are there examples of where the alternative turned out stronger?

ninjagoo4 hours ago

LibreOffice is a good example.

arprocter14 hours ago

>maintaining our enthusiast roots and unfiltered data

Interesting to see if a certain someone's jet(s) remain trackable

nocoiner13 hours ago

Welps, shutting off my feed today. I was actually thinking about this exact scenario just last week. Funny to hear that it happened.

wkat42429 hours ago

Funny but also sad :(

dgacmu14 hours ago

I cynically wonder how much they'll start charging billionaires to hide their private jet info.

sschueller13 hours ago

Cynic in me thinks the was arranged by billionaires that don't want to be tracked. Chump change for them.

jgalt21214 hours ago

or at the very least, the partners at Silversmith will have a long list of billionaires who owe them favors.

donaldcjackson12 hours ago

I suggest that folks that want to feed open ADSB aggregators consider feeding

everybodyknows11 hours ago

Interesting possibilities here:

> You can now feed VHF/voice data to OpenSky and help researchers around the world. Check out the interface and set up a feeder at

evil-olive6 hours ago

if this news has gotten anyone interested in running an ADSB antenna/feeder, the SDR Enthusiasts book [0] is an excellent resource.

their github [1] has a bunch of very nice, modular Docker images that make it easy to feed one or more ADSB aggregators. (by comparison, a lot of the other software ecosystem around amateur SDR / ADSB relies on `curl | sudo bash` type install scripts)



Havoc6 hours ago

Thanks. Will try to tweak my setup to feed all of them. Don’t really see the point in being stingy with this info

vlovich12314 hours ago

Out of curiosity, how does this community effort do quality control (ie preventing someone rich from paying some people to flood the system with conflicting information)

dgacmu14 hours ago

There's a protocol for multilateration of the detected jets using all of the receivers that are in range of its signal. Whil I'm sure there are ways you could attack it, it's pretty robust to the more obvious things.

wkat42429 hours ago

The mlat is more for receiving aircraft that use traditional transponders which don't include gps coordinates but just a squawk code and altitude. Hence it needs multiple receivers to triangulate their location. I don't think it uses this for real adsb feeds.

vlovich1238 hours ago

Would switching to a federated / distributed protocol fix things? Or is there some additional critical role that ADS-B was providing?

rhacker12 hours ago

This isn't going to go over well. I hope everyone shuts down their feed.

nerpderp8212 hours ago

Most likely the goal.

wkat42429 hours ago

I don't know, now that they own it they can just start censoring it like the others.

And I'm sure at least one alternative will pop up

jmyeet14 hours ago

Years ago compact disc metadata was really important. There was an open library for this called CDDB. At some point the owners of that started silently inserting an agreement by the user to assign ownership of the submissions to the company.

That “open” database got sold off and became Gracenote [1].

I’m not sure how many times we need to learn this lesson.


nocoiner12 hours ago

I’m still not sure how Amazon pulled off that same move with IMDb. I remember it WAY back when (I think it had several mirrors, one of which was hosted at a URL like, which gives you an idea of how long ago that would have been) and I can’t imagine they had a valid assignment of copyright from all their contributors…

voakbasda9 hours ago

They might not have cared about getting necessary permission from every contributor. They only needed to get permission from anyone likely to sue and win in court. It's the standard play for companies the size of Amazon: why follow the law when it is cheaper to fight or pay the fine?

upofadown14 hours ago

I guess the interesting and significant difference here is that value of the previous location of aircraft fades fairly quickly. So just setting up a different server and switching to that is an effective solution. The value here is not retained in the data but instead the network that collects the data.

wpietri14 hours ago

Not to be cynical, but I doubt the lesson will ever get learned. These things start with big ideas, hope, and an ignorance of the practical details. Over time, practical realities, like paying for goods and services, crop up. In a capitalist society, most of the ready-made solutions to that look like businesses. And our current culture of capitalism then shifts toward short-term revenue-maximization, putting things in the hands of predators and sociopaths.

I know people have made attempts to solve this, like B Corps and groups like the Apache Foundation. But I don't think we're there yet. One could try to create a foundation that specifically incubates projects that go beyond open source to open/collective services. But even if one solves funding for that, there's still the problem of finding the naive starters of things and crushing their dreams just enough to get them on a better course, but not so much that they quit.

tialaramex13 hours ago

Because profit motive is the usual problem, you can deliberately design that out if you're careful.

England (where I live) had a lot of Building Societies - mutual institutions where some members are saving money, and those savings are lent to other members (borrowers) to buy homes to live in, the interest from which of course makes this a good deal for the savers done at scale (so as to smooth out inevitable losses when some borrowers default). This can be a very lucrative line of business during a housing boom, and many of these societies found themselves with a considerable cash positive position in the 1980s. Since the members own the society, they can just change the rules of the society and "demutualize", extracting the cash for themselves. Of course this destroys the society, an important institution which has helped so many people to own somewhere to live - but hey, you've got some money and isn't that what's really important?

My parents voted "Yes" to demutualize the society where they'd saved money and from which they had borrowed to buy the house I grew up in, I (as an idealistic teenager who had my own modest savings) voted "No", the "Yes" votes won and the resulting entity, now a bank, eventually was mired in scandal and no longer serves the purpose the proud building society had served before. But hey, they got their money. People like them were nicknamed "Carpetbaggers" in the UK as a result, by analogy to the US concept.

Now, I mention this because as several larger societies were demutualised this way, the remainder realised that the same fate could be theirs, and many swallowed a "poison pill" to prevent it. They changed their rules so that all future members (savers, borrowers, whichever) signed away rights to the proceeds of any demutualisation (e.g. giving it to a charity). So you could vote to tear the society to pieces, but you would no longer make a penny from doing so, and suddenly that's not very attractive.

It worked.

nocoiner11 hours ago

That was an absolutely fascinating story, thank you for sharing. Very redolent of “there’s no such thing as society.”

Although my politics aren’t theirs, I don’t hate the Reagan and Thatcher types. I don’t think they were bad people per se (or at least not any worse than anyone else who is capable of ascending to the apex of political power). But I do think they changed some things in their respective cultures for the worse, and those are things that we’re still grappling with today.

jmyeet10 hours ago

Most if not all big investment banks are now corporations, usually listed on the stock exchange. It wasn't always this way.

Prior to the 1970s investment banks couldn't be listed on the NYSE. Goldman Sachs (etc) weren't corporations. They were partnerships, basically like a law firm. This is a key difference because a partnership has unlimited liability. This tends to make such organizations very conservative with risk management, for obvious reasons.

But when this changed, all these partnerships incorporated instead and listed on the stock exchange. Incorporation shields the leaddership from the downside of their bad decisions. As we've seen, the governmen thas stepped in to assume that risk for really no good reason at all ("too big to fail").

Interestingly, I'm not sure there's a legal barrier preventing law firms from listing on the stock exchange but they don't, which is interesting.

So in your case these mutual societies and community banks existed for the benefit of their members and they (including the members) took the (one time) bag and was shielded from accountability. I see investment banks as falling into this same trap.

nocoiner9 hours ago

For law firms, there is a barrier (in the United States, at least): law firms must be owned by lawyers. Other common law jurisdictions, such as Australia, have eliminated this requirement and have publicly traded law firms. I assume soon, you’ll start seeing what’s happening here with medical and other professional service practices that have similar ownership restrictions where ownership, services and revenues are theoretically decoupled through creative contracting arrangements, but I don’t know of that having happened yet with a law firm.

Most law firms in the United States are now organized as LLPs (a limited liability partnership, which segregates liability among the partners), but notably the most profitable law firm measured in a per capita basis, Wachtell, is still organized as a general partnership with unlimited partner liability. They deliver their clients one-line invoices, containing numbers with many, many more zeroes, for “services rendered.”

tecleandor8 hours ago

The dullest non-announce ever:

Hasn't said anything in the forum or the site news section, and hasn't posted that tweet until after the official announce by Jetnet.

Looks like a case of "take the money and run". Doesn't smell good for the ads-b community.

jmacd13 hours ago

Just unplugged my receiver.

wkat42429 hours ago

Oh nooo.. Now there's no volunteer driven tracking network left. And they'll probably start blocking military and private flights just like the other commercial trackers. Too bad, it was great while it lasted. Hopefully someone starts up a new one that will stay independent.

oldstrangers13 hours ago

Well that sucks. I had just gotten into using ADS-B over Flightradar24.

Havoc9 hours ago

That shouldn't be affected by the matter at hand. ADS-B is the coms standard, ADS-B Exchange is a specific aggregation effort.

oldstrangers7 hours ago

Well that sucks. I had just gotten into using ADS-B Exchange over Flightradar24.

plantain8 hours ago

Good. ADS-B Exchange's API is horribly broken and they never even replied to my support/refund requests so I had to chargeback. A shakeup might help.

phkahler12 hours ago

750,000 messages per second! Imagine if each node knew where it was and all of its nearest neighbors. The receivers could filter and not send messages that are coming from planes closer to their neighbors! Distributed filtering of redundant messages FTW!

sorenjan12 hours ago

You need messages from multiple receivers for MLAT, I think they use messages with known plane positions to calibrate the MLAT solver since the receivers doesn't have a high quality common time source.

Plus proximity doesn't mean you can see airplanes that are behind buildings, at low altitude, etc.

KirillPanov9 hours ago

> 750,000 messages per second!

ZOMG, that's like... a 1990s DSL connection!

mkl9 hours ago

Only if your messages are 1 byte long or something.

squarefoot10 hours ago

Time to move the ADSB sharing network over p2p? Assuming it's doable, that way whoever buys an aggregator site would own just the interface, not the data sharing network.

huslage14 hours ago

Does anyone want to fund an open ADSB data gathering platform for a nonprofit to run?

jjcon11 hours ago

Looks like the official discord community (now formerly official I guess) is pushing

gggggg513 hours ago

GDPR compliance is a big problem in this space, there's no GDPR exception which would allow you to legally collect this data in the EU. (Unless you limited your collection to whitelisted A/C)

Right now every single player in this space is operating illegally, but it'll probably take years before data protection authorities will start to crack down.

looping__lui13 hours ago
sigmar13 hours ago

Is SDR accessible through the internet a violation of GDPR? Hard for me to understand why relaying ADS-B would be different (considering the sdr data is inclusive of the ADS-B data)

tialaramex12 hours ago

I'm going to guess that collecting / organising the data is a problem.

Data Protection laws, and I believe the GDPR is the same, aren't interested in just stuff you've got, for example if you write a blog, and you mention that you saw Jim at the weekend and his sister is apparently pregnant, these laws do not consider that you've got a database there with a single row ("Jim's sister" "Pregnant") which needs to be treated as PII and have Subject access requirements etc. You're not really collecting pregnancy status data about women, you just have a blog post.

Whereas if I build a scraper, and I search thousands of blogs and correlate stuff to build a Postgres DB with "Jim's sister" "Pregnant" as one of dozens of rows, that is the sort of thing these laws care about.

So I can imagine that likewise "Here are radio signals I am receiving" looks like public information, no big deal, whereas "Here is a database of records I gathered by studying the past 24 hours of radio signals" is different.

wkat42429 hours ago

Why? GDPR is about personal data. This data is about airplanes, not people.

gggggg59 hours ago

Because the data can often easily be tied to specific people.

You also can't set up a camera on the side of the road and store peoples registration plates and times when they drove past.

You could also easily track cellphone IMEIs and locations in the same way these services track aircraft, that's not gonna fly either.

Obviously you'll be completely fine if you only store data on commercial aviation, general aviation will pretty much immediately veer into GDPR territory.

wkat42428 hours ago
reallymental7 hours ago

Is there any service like this for AIS data?