‘Butt dialling’ case makes an ass of US businessman

24 Jul 20159 Shares

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on RedditEmail this to someone

A Cincinnati court has ruled that someone who calls someone by mistake has no protection over what is then overheard, with the latest ‘butt dialling’ case proving remarkably embarrassing.

The ruling, which came in a case between board members of a US airport and the secretary of a colleague, found that the documenting of a call that was made inadvertently is grand because the caller should really know better.

The backstory, however, is an absolute gem.

According to the court documents, James Huff, the chairman of the Kenton County Airport Board, which oversees the Cincinnati/North Kentucky International Airport (CVC), was in Italy with a colleague, vice chairman Larry Savage.

When there he called Carol Spaw, an assistant of the airport’s CEO, to make dinner reservations. He failed to dial successfully with his iPhone – presumably the company phone – before putting it in his suit’s breast pocket.

He whipped out his personal phone and rang her to make the reservation. Hunky dory.

Calling by mistake

Then his iPhone rang her without him realising, she answered, and proceeded to document 91 minutes of what she heard, which circulated around how Huff and Savage wanted to fire Spaw’s boss.

It also included a conversation between Huff and his wife.

The court found that what James Huff said was fair game as he made the call, however, other parties are protected as they had no part in the call connection.

The judges said Bertha, James’s wife, had a reasonable expectation to privacy, sending the case down to a lower court to decide on that strand of proceedings.

In the background to the case, the judges explained that Spaw believed that she heard Huff and Savage engaged in a discussion to discriminate unlawfully against her boss, “and felt that it was her responsibility to record the conversation and report it through appropriate channels”.

Get an ‘unwanted butt dialling’ app

“A number of simple and well-known measures can prevent pocket dials from occurring,” wrote the judges in their findings.

These included locking the phone, setting up a passcode, and using one of many downloadable applications that prevent pocket-dial calls.

They even provided a link to ‘Prevent Unwanted Butt Dialing with Smart Pocket Guard’.

“In sum, 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 with respect to statements that are exposed to an outsider by the inadvertent operation of that device.”

Main image via Shutterstock

66

DAYS

4

HOURS

26

MINUTES

Buy your tickets now!

Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com