A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled this week that if you accidentally call someone (with either your butt or your thumbs), whatever that person hears is fair game. This decision came on the heels of a suit that was filed against Carol Spaw, the assistant to the chief executive at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport who accused of alleged federal wiretapping.

Board member James Huff had called Spaw to make restaurant reservations, and then accidentally dialed her again unbeknownst to the board member. Spaw then heard the Huff discuss with another party about firing Spaw’s boss in a what was meant to be a private conversation. Spaw not only took notes, but recorded the phone call, and played back the call to her boss and other members of the board. Huff sued Spaw but was overruled by an appeals court, which is surprising since courts are usually sympathetic to the person that transmits information. Judge Danny Boggs compared butt-dialing to leaving your windows open, and that you aren’t legally protected from people looking in. Boggs goes further on discounting Huff’s sloppiness. 

A person who knowingly operates a device that is capable of inadvertently exposing his conversations to third-party listeners and fails to take simple precautions to prevent such exposure does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

How about this? Just don't butt-dial Carol Spaw.

Cover: Wikimedia Commons 


facts about Court cases on PRIVACY and butt-dialing:

 This is the second time "butt-dialing" has been printed in a court case. The first time involved a man who accidentally dialed a woman he was instructed to not call via protective order.

 Thankfully, the Supreme Court offers you a little more privacy. They ruled last years that law enforcement officials cannot search your mobile phone without a warrant, either at the scene of an arrest or after.