Papal Election: Vatican Installs Anti-leak Security Devices at the Sistine Chapel (Video)
By Ryan Inoyori | March 10, 2013 12:29 AM EST
Vatican City officials have installed security measures against bugging devices to prevent leaks from the conclave of any results as the 115 cardinal electors start to their vote who will be the next pope on Tuesday, March 12.
Operators of the 15th-century Sistine Chapel had finished the final preparations for the secret voting of 115 cardinals around the world. Among these is the installation of equipment which blocks any electronic signals from getting out of the Sistine Chapel. Other measures include two stoves to burn ballots and sealing off the area from tourists.
The Vatican decided to go with technology to prevent another leak which happened in 2005 when German media outlets reported that Joseph Ratzinger was the next elected pope.
"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 black-out with nearby media," according to La Stampa, an Italian daily newspaper.
The Sistine Chapel is now under a "dead zone" due to the effects of a Faraday cage, named after the English scientist Michael Faraday, which blocks electromagnetic interference to prevent radio wave transmission from happening; thus, no mobile device can penetrate the mesh.
Anti-debugging will also be implemented during the voting event which will hinder any possible reverse engineering of computer codes just in case the Faraday cage is not enough. The technique is used to legitimate copy-protection schemes and to eliminate malicious software. Any individual may be subject to penalty if any debugger is detected on his person.
The cardinals are also sworn to an Oath of Secrecy, further strengthened by new technology to battle the same technology used by information leakers, hackers, and malware creators in a bid to ensure that not only the result of the voting is kept secret until announced officially as well as ensure the details of the deliberation in selecting a new pontiff are kept within the confines of the chapel, with only the famous ceiling paintings of Renaissance artist Michaelangelo as mute witness to church politics.
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