Or more likely it was just an obvious target. In late June, when Julius Genachowski was finally confirmed as the new FCC chairman, I posted a simple challenge for him – somewhat tongue in cheek. Basically, it revolved around the agency’s website, which at the time ranked amongst the world’s worst. If you started from www.fcc.gov without knowing the layout or cryptic ID numbers, finding any particular document was nigh impossible. But whether it was me he listened to (highly doubtful) or not, I have to say that they are making some strides. On Friday the electronic comment filing systems were upgraded.
Now, they don’t work quite like Google does yet. But on the other hand, you don’t need a docket number, FCC proceeding, or even a DA/FCC Number. Regarding the particular item I mentioned, a filing by the No Choke Points coalition, if you type in “No Choke Points” into the “Name of Filer” field and hit enter, lo and behold the document is actually there! And you can now turn a search into an RSS feed and subscribe to it. It’s not a panacea yet of course, but it’s a start. At least they got something done this year besides Network Neutrality. Even better is the new Java Server Pages application, which lets you do full text/keyword searches on everything back to 1992.
I’ve been a bit cynical about the commission’s efforts on network neutrality lately. Not because I hate network neutrality, but because I think it is akin to putting up wallpaper over water damage. Even cosmetically it only works for a while. But openness is a big deal, and for finally bringing the website into the current decade I commend their efforts. Even if it is just 3 months before we start the next one…
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