Vatican Goes High Tech: Security Includes Anti-Bugging Devices To Prevent Conclave Leaks

Prior to the conclave, where the cardinals who are of voting age elect the next pope, there have been several meetings in Vatican City to discuss church business, the challenges the new pope will face and what qualities the church should look for in a new pope. To prevent any leaks, the Vatican has not only been cancelling planned media briefings; they are going high tech and using sophisticated security measures to prevent any leaks.

Earlier in the week, American cardinals cancelled media briefings amid fears of leaks, reports the Associated Press. One very important discussion being held in the meeting is the problems and scandal surrounding the Vatican. Fears of jealousy, internal politics and feuding, money laundering and corruption have been rampant after the Vatileaks scandal, and these issues need to be faced by the incoming pope.

The American group of cardinals has also been at the forefront of this movement, notes the AP, as they want a better understanding about a secret report that was conducted in the wake of the Vatileaks scandal. While some speculate that this report also includes plenty of details about a gay network within the Vatican, many believe it involves the potential corruption and internal feuding within the Vatican.

The fears of leaks stemmed from reports from La Stampa, an Italian daily newspaper, who had specific details about what topics were discussed in the briefing, including the need to better manage the bureaucracy within the Vatican, notes the AP.

With the last voting-age-eligible cardinal arriving on Thursday, Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Vietnam, the College of Cardinals can set the date for the conclave, and the vote will be held at the Sistine Chapel.

As previously reported by the IBTimes, the Sistine Chapel was sealed off from tourists, and construction has begun on preparing it for the conclave. Some of the measures included installing two stoves, to be used to burn the ballots as well as signal a decision, but also a false floor that will hold security measures to prevent any leaks from the conclave.

La Stampa notes that the Vatican has gone high tech to prevent leaks like in 2005 when German media outlets were able to report that Joseph Ratzinger was going to be elected as pope. A Faraday cage is being put in place to jam any signals. A Faraday cage is a mesh structure used to block outside electrical fields. For the Vatican, the usage of the Faraday cage will cause the Sistine Chapel to become a “dead zone,” preventing any cell phones from getting service.  

According to La Stampa, the Synod Hall, where the pre-conclave meetings take place, has already been shielded to prevent the use of cell phones, and the wireless network has been deactivated to ensure a complete communication blackout with nearby media.” The cardinals could also be monitored as they make their trips from their residences at Santa Marta and the Sistine Chapel.

An oath of secrecy is no longer enough in this technological age, and the Vatileaks scandal has proven that the Vatican needs to go high tech if they want to prevent leaks and maintain secrecy. To read more about the conclave and how the pope gets elected, go here.

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