May 13th (2:30 pm) – After the FCC’s reporting of a “software glitch” that prevented the filing of over 2,000 PIF member comments in the privacy docket, we decided to deliver comments the old-fashioned way – by hand delivering them to the FCC. After all, during PIF’s numerous phone calls with the FCC, the agency officials still have not been able to pinpoint for us the technical issue preventing our comments from populating the privacy docket, despite their often conflicting public statements.
Upon arriving at the FCC building in Washington, D.C., PIF team members were stopped by a hostile security team who informed us we would not be able to deliver the comments to the filing secretary without a contact at the FCC.
After several minutes of confusion and a few phone calls later, the security team relented and we were able to put all 2,200+ printed comments through the metal detector before walking them to the filing office.
Once there, we were not allowed to take pictures to confirm delivery — no smartphones allowed in the FCC! And, the only proof of receipt we were provided is a stamped copy of 1 comment letter (as pictured).
As of today, Tuesday, May 17th, the comments hand delivered to the FCC have still not been posted to the electronic docket.
In fact, the FCC has now admitted that due to their antiquated computer technology, 74,000 comments are stuck in a backlog waiting to be loaded to the various proceedings they currently have open.
Had Senator Mike Lee not pressed Chairman Wheeler at last Wednesday’s hearing for an answer to what happened to PIF’s filed comments, we may have never known that tens of thousands of comments from concerned citizens were being held in digital limbo while the FCC tried to cover up its embarrassing “software glitch” backlog.
The FCC has yet to inform us of how they will fix the docket, but we do have thousands more comments on the way, so we surely hope to find a solution as soon as possible as the comment deadline is just 10 days away. This whole fiasco really makes us wonder… if the FCC doesn’t have the technical expertise to support the software necessary to post public comments to a web page how do they think they have what it takes to regulate the entire Internet?