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A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Forgive Me iPad, For I Have Sinned
Anyone following the advances in technology today cannot avoid the notion that the iPad is the future. Yes, the iPad is the future much like the rotary phone. Come upon a Starbucks dwelling lawyer, and in the time it takes to drink a tall coffee of the day, with room for cream, you'll be convinced that yes, this, the iPad is the future, of everything.
Whenever a new application comes out for the iPad, it's like an angel has descended from the heavens, blessing those with nothing else to talk about except how Apple has changed their lives.
Confession: A Roman Catholic App
The text-based app takes the user through the Ten Commandments, with a slew of questions attached to each, a process known as an examination of conscience, which penitents undergo before confession.
Questions range from "Have I wished evil upon another person?" to "Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?" and users can check a box next to each sin they've committed.
Once that's done, the app lists the user's sins and displays a written act of contrition, a prayer recited by the penitent. From there, it walks the user through the rest of the steps of confession and even advises when to say "amen."
This is great. Instead of meeting with a priest in a church, in private, you can just type away your sins while picking out a new pair of flip flops or baseball cap.
Apple "apps" are so popular, that even the Vatican has weighed in on this one.
From Father Federico Lombardi:
It's essential to understand that the sacrament of penance requires a personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor, and absolution by the confessor who is present," he told reporters. "This is something that cannot be replaced by any application. One cannot speak of a confession via iPhone.
One cannot speak of a confession via iPhone
You forgot the iPad, Father.
I also have one small concern, the Evidence Code.
Now talking about law and the iPad in one place makes some people uncomfortable, but let's give it a shot.
The priest-penitent privilege protects communications between a person and a clergy member acting in a professional capacity as a spiritual advisor from disclosure. A clergyman uses the priest-penitent privilege to refuse to divulge confidential information received from a person during confession or similar exchanges.
If your "confession" is on an iPad, that confession is between you and the iPad, and your wifi connection, internet service provider, the world, and God.
Now I know, tech evangelists don't like the fear mongering - "it's just a toy, Brian."
Sure it is. Funny though how the Vatican felt the need to comment.
I know it's a toy. Until your iPad is delivered pursuant to a subpoena, to the office of a prosecutor, who doesn't know how to play Angry Birds.
So tell me, have you ever wished evil upon another person?
Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Post to Twitter