Dear FBI

Dear Federal Bureau of Investigation: Hello, how are you doing today? Excellent, I’m truly glad to hear that. Me? Well, I’ve got a little problem I’m hoping you can help me with. Have you got a second? Great.

Here’s the deal: On your website, you give instructions on submitting FOIA requests. One of the options – in theory, at least – is to do so online. I freely admit that I’m an idiot, but it doesn’t work for me. Ever.

You see, there’s the online request form, but I can’t enter anything in Firefox or Internet Explorer. Maybe it works in Netscape, or Konqueror, or something, but I kind of think that as a government entity you could make that little bit of extra effort to make things compatible with, you know, popular web browsers. Hey, don’t look at me like that; the Brits managed to do it, so how hard can it be?

Oh yeah, and then there’s the email address where that form supposedly – in theory – would get submitted to. Every time I try to send email to that address – from my ISP, from Yahoo, from Gmail, from my own domain – it bounces with an error about:

#550 5.7.1 RESOLVER.RST.AuthRequired; authentication required ##

…which isn’t really all that helpful.

This isn’t rocket science, FBI, and it shouldn’t have to be difficult, but it is. So, could you please – pretty please – either fix your website, or your email, or both, so that I and the rest of the world can make FOIA requests to you in an environmentally-sound fashion? Please? For me? I may pester you now and then, but I’ve never made any requests about UFOs, or assassination conspiracy theories, or anything else kooky, and promise to continue not making any, as well. All I ask is the option to make nice, perfected FOIA requests without having to use a fax machine or snail mail.

Is that too much to ask, dear Bureau? I think not.

Ta muchly,

Published in: Geekiness, General | on January 21st, 2009| 1 Comment »

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One Comment

  1. On 1/22/2009 at 12:06 am Enrico Sanchez Said:

    Wow, that form is all kinds of useless. I looked at the code and it won’t even work in unpopular browsers, much less popular ones. The form is never set up as an HTML form, all the “inputs” are just static underscores, and the send button does nothing.

    It’s good to see that the FBI has a good grasp of fundamental internet technology.