(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
fcc, transparency, website


FCC Search Page Goes Five Full Years Without An Update

from the nice-work dept

Congrats to the FCC -- supposedly the most tech savvy of gov't agencies, for going a full five years without updating its website search. Jerry Brito, who has been watching the FCC's website for quite some time, and noting how awful it is for a tech-related agency, points out that the search page was last updated on December 11, 2003. Of course, that's not the biggest problem. As Brito notes, the docketing system has tremendous problems for an agency that needs to be more transparent: "there is no full-text search, there are no data feeds, and their robots.txt file is set to exclude search crawlers." Of course, when the agency is run by a guy famous for secrecy and purposely hiding information to get his way, perhaps it's no surprise that the search function has gone neglected.

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  • identicon
    Mark Regan, 12 Dec 2008 @ 3:32pm

    FCC Will NOT learn

    I have been licensed by the FCC in one way or another for most of my adult life, and beginning with the Bush Administration's replacing the engineers and technicians who previously did a good job of running that agency with POLITICAL HACKS who were on a mission to enrich their "billionaire buddies" and administer political plum sweetheart contracts, it has been simply one scandal after another at that organization.

    Their website was programmed using 20 year old technology and mechanisms, and I and all other licensees are REQUIRED to know all kinds of numbers, codes, passwords, and such simply to renew a license even when NOTHING has changed. Since it is impossible to keep up with or remember these numbers and codes and designators, we have to use OUTSIDE consultants who are experts at doing so for their clients or members. So in the process of making it easier for the government, they make it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of licensees.

    And writing or emailing them? Forget it. They DO NOT ANSWER since the Bushies took over. Telephone? Forget it. The lines are apparently answered by third party call centers.

    And the digital television coupon program? A financial reward to the loyal Republican operatives who administer that program. Imagine the cost of printing holograms on quality one time use only credit card-type plastic, a very complex application process, an even MORE EXPENSIVE advertising campaign (mostly on Republican owned media), and what is the net result? Millions of Americans who could not meet the "requirements" for the coupons, or who could not use them in time, or who were too poor to pay the cost difference for the converters, will LOSE the ability to receive television signals on the PUBLIC AIRWAYS, many of which were SOLD to Bush's Billionaire Buddies.

    We will now be paying a "hidden" tax on the use of these frequencies to these companies with NO representation. I thought that taxation without representation was one of the ideals of our country. Under Bush, it is the de facto standard.

    The complicated and outdated website is just ONE TOOL in the Bush toolbox to obfuscate and coverup the malfeasance, misfeasance, and secret contract wheeling and dealing that have been going on at the FCC.

    One of the first missions the Obama Team will need to do is CLEAN HOUSE at the FCC and appoint actual RF engineers and technicians and specialists who know what the heck the mission of the FCC actually is, and what the definitions of Public Airwaves and Fair and Equal Access and Public Interest, Convenience, and Necessity are.

    My town went 12 HOURS without ANY 911 service because of the FCC's negligence and failure to provide adequate oversight of one of the "favored" companies. The law enforcement agencies are using 30 year old technology because the Bushies got rid of the Clinton era grants for communications improvements. There are only a couple of cell towers serving the entire county which is about the size of Cook County, Illinois. In other words, more than 50% of the people here do NOT have access to ANY cell phone service, and high speed internet and cable is available to only about ten percent of the geographic area of the county, and the phone company closed their only office serving the county and answers the phone in another country and the operators cannot understand the difference between Arkansas and Kansas even when phonetically spelled out, so even simple matters become complicated.

    Since there is no cell phone or high speed internet service to the county industrial park, no industry wants to locate here and the few that are here close up and go to where there is modern technology, like 1972 cell phone technology.

    Now the Bush administration is trying to stop public use of the frequencies between the television channels in order to allow the FREE usage of those same frequencies by CERTAIN "favored" companies in the wireless mike industry. Why can't they qualify for frequency licenses like EVERY other business wanting to sell services using the public airwaves, and pay the appropriate fees? Because they are Bush Buddies, that's why. Screw the users, the citizens, the taxpayers, and reward the BIG industrial monopolies and multinational corporations that out source the manufacturing of all those wireless mikes, televisions, digital converters, and such. Then the Bush Buddies can make additional BILLIONS through the importing and retailing of these gems.

    I get too angry even thinking about how Bush and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and their corporate bandit associates LOOTED not only the US Treasury but also imposed TRILLIONS of dollars in hidden taxes imposed on our children and grandchildren.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sos, 14 Dec 2008 @ 8:11pm

      Re: FCC Will NOT learn

      Their website was programmed using 20 year old technology
      Really? It predates HTML? Which 20yo technology was the FCC site developed with then?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        mslade, 15 Dec 2008 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re: FCC Will NOT learn

        The internet is not built on "html". HTML is just the language used to deliver content. There are and long have been far more complex technologies on the server-side that generate the HTML.

        To put it more simply, HTML is not capable of search functionality. HTML just describes how to display content.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2008 @ 3:46pm

    Oooh! Kevin Martin's Birthday is on Sunday too.

    Do you think there will be a party?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2008 @ 10:40pm


      Oooh! Kevin Martin's Birthday is on Sunday too.
      Do you think there will be a party?

      Hmmm... I tried to do a search on the FCC web site, but apparently the search page is very old, and doesn't work very well. Someone should report on this..... (^_^)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Eye Ron Ick

    Funny how the Federal Communications Commission is not very good at communicating.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), 13 Dec 2008 @ 4:50am

    Job security wins over customer service every time!


    This is government where they've taken the merit system and learned how to game it to be worse than whim management.

    The Trademark Office also has a broken search system, but the "owner's" of each department defend "their territory" against any newcomers who may change the status quo and actually serve their customers better. I developed a modern alternative that thrilled the Commissioner, and 2 weeks before announcing it, I was tossed for supposedly "breaking the rules", and my search solution was tanked. Nobody stood up for me because the entrenchment is fierce, and incompetence in tenacious.

    Broken as it ever was. Surprised?


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2008 @ 8:48am

      Re: Job security wins over customer service every time!

      "serve their customers"

      Problem is, they do not think of the public as their customer.
      Their customer is whom ever puts $$ under the table.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    buzz, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:17am

    Data feeds, we got 'em

    > there are no data feeds

    I provide RSS feeds of FCC Experimental Radio license applications and grants, at www.radiospectrum.info .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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