/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Sistine Chapel now a technology 'dead zone' (pictures)

As the papal conclave to choose a new leader for the Catholic Church gets under way, tech measures are put in place to jam the use of cell phones and deactivate the area's wireless network.

Charles_Cooper.jpg
Charles Cooper
sist1.jpg
1 of 7 Getty Images
A view of the Sistine Chapel where the papal conclave will get underway Tuesday in Vatican City, Vatican. The cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The one change in a ritual that goes back centuries: the deployment of technology to ensure absolute secrecy and prevent electronic snooping on the 115 cardinals.
conclave.jpg
2 of 7 Getty Images
An April 18, 2005, photo of cardinals entering the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican before the start of the conclave that ultimately elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Benedict XVI. Somehow, the news leaked and German media was able to report the election before the official word from the Vatican. This time around, both the Sistine Chapel and the Santa Marta residence are being swept electronically, and the Vatican's police force has installed electronic-jamming devices underneath the Sistine Chapel's elevated floor to keep potential snoops at bay.
cellcard.jpg
3 of 7 Getty Images
The cardinals, who are sworn to secrecy not to disclose the proceedings, are forbidden to use any sort of recording or transmissions technology. Upon entering the Sistine Chapel, the cardinals will make the following promise: "We promise and swear with the maximum loyalty to observe, both with clerics and laymen, the secrecy of all that regards the election of the Roman pontiff and what takes place in the place of election." That comes after a spate of articles in Italian newspapers detailing internal Vatican discussions about the future pope. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was not pleased, telling reporters: “I don't know who is violating the pact of secrecy” and that “if anyone knows who is violating this, they should say so."
synod.jpg
4 of 7 Getty Images
The Italian newspaper La Stampa reports that a technology shield has gone up around the Synod Hall, where the pre-conclave meetings take place, to jam the use of cell phones and deactivate the area's wireless network.
sentence.jpg
5 of 7 Getty Images
Don't underestimate the Vatican police's technology prowess. The agency's wiretapping campaign resulted in the arrest of Pope Benedict's former butler Paolo Gabriele for leaking documents to an Italian journalist in early 2012. On Oct. 6, Gabriele (second from right) was convicted of stealing secret documents from the Vatican and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
faraday.png
6 of 7 eBay
An example of a Faraday cage kit. Faraday cages are used to block external electric fields. The Vatican is said to be deploying Faraday cages to block any external radio frequency signals transmissions.
smoke.jpg
7 of 7 Getty Images
Before the news officially gets released, the world will learn of the election of a new pope from the use of a very low-tech action: white smoke emitting from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel — a signal that the Catholic Church cardinals have elected a new pope.

More Galleries

2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

More Galleries

2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

54 Photos
Nintendo Switch: The best games to play right now

More Galleries

Nintendo Switch: The best games to play right now

41 Photos
Subaru Solterra STI feels like a natural extension

More Galleries

Subaru Solterra STI feels like a natural extension

5 Photos
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more

59 Photos
2022 Polestar 2 is clean and techy

More Galleries

2022 Polestar 2 is clean and techy

28 Photos
2022 Porsche Cayenne adds snazzy Platinum Edition

More Galleries

2022 Porsche Cayenne adds snazzy Platinum Edition

9 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos