Scrambler Will Prevent Cell Phone Leakage from Vatican

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Our apologies that a couple of the newswire items Lisa does are just a _wee_bit stale dated today. You may have seen this item elsewhere. Recall that two weeks ago, this _massive_ flood of spam hit us one day and caused many legit items to disappear. A few of those items have been found where they were hiding, and are dealt with in this issue. Of course, we have already had the new Pope for a few days now. Again, sorry about it. PAT]

==== originally dated April 16 ==================

A system has been set up to scramble any cellphone communications between the Sistine Chapel and the outside world during the secret conclave that will elect the next pope, the Vatican announced today.

The step is an extra precaution, since cardinals as well as Vatican personnel from medical staff to elevator operators have been sworn to secrecy ahead of the conclave, which is to begin Monday.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told a news conference that journalists would be able to verify for themselves, during a press visit later Saturday to the Sistine Chapel, that their cellphones will not work.

The late Pope John Paul II's 1996 apostolic constitution calls on authorities to "be especially vigilant in ensuring that there is absoultely no violation of secrecy with regard to the events occurring in the Sistine Chapel, where the voting takes place, and in the adjacent areas before, as well as during and after the voting."

It refers specifically to "audiovisual equipment for recording or transmitting."

Copyright 2005 Agence France Presse

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