On the first day of 2013 the Vatican plans to launch a new swipe card security system that will bring it in line with most of the modern world’s employers.
Starting January 1, Vatican employees will be required to swipe a magnetic identification card each time they enter or exit the premises. The cards are embedded with a chip which continually tracks the card’s owner. The constant monitoring is a step away from the Vatican’s current, and surprisingly lenient, employee security rules.
The Vatican is solidly protected and it’s gates are watched over by Swiss Guards. Surrounded by 40-foot-tall walls, is the only fortified state in the world. Until now, the approximately 3,000 people employed within Vatican City have been allowed unprecedented flexibility to go about their business.
The new swipe card system is not necessarily an attempt at Big Brother style watchfulness. Robert Mickens, former employee at Vatican Radiospoke to NBC News about previous attempts a monitoring staff:
“The Vatican has tried hard to check that people stick to their working hours for years. At Vatican Radio they introduced electronic badges years ago because people would go for their coffee break and return hours later. So I think that this is more of a case of the Vatican trying to check that its employees do their job than to prevent them from leaking information.”
According to Vatican Insider, the swipe card security system is just one of several new measures being implemented. Steps have been taken to secure archives, monitor document access, and increase security in the Secretariat of State. It has been speculated that the actions were spurred by a recent Vatican scandal.
The launch of swipe card security at the apostolic palace follows the Vatileaks security scandal. An unprecedented breach in Vatican security was made when Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s former butler, passed copies of confidential documents to Italian media sources.
Vatican officials believe that Paolo Gabriele was conducting his betrayal alone, but there has been speculation that the increase in security is a response to his crime.
How do you feel about the launch of a swipe card security system at the Vatican?