When it comes to the Freedom of Information Act, faxing may be one of the older technologies still in use today.  But, it remains a very specific form of telecommunication that is highly prized by some organizations. Case in point, the practice of sending a fax is receiving new attention again as the Federal Bureau of Investigation changes their regulations regarding requests in conjunction with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Investigating the Facts (Freedom of Information Act)

The FOIA was enacted to allow journalists, everyday citizens, and activists to request information on the FBI's activities in limited ways. Surprising information has been discovered through requests sent in through the FBI's program, but now it's becoming even harder to make these requests.

For years, the FBI has accepted requests sent through email to solicit specific material according to the terms of the FOIA. Recent changes now eliminate that option and require requests to be sent by standard mail, fax, or through a limited web portal alone.

Limits to the Portal

While there is still a specific web form on the FBI's website that serves as a portal for these requests, it is only available during limited hours of the day. This is a strange and archaic limitation in today's 24-hour digital cycle, but it's well within the rights of the FBI to set these kinds of limits.

Since you're already dealing with the trickiness of writing out your request and including every pertinent detail to get the correct information, you might as well save your request as a PDF and send it in as an email fax.

It takes a lot longer to cut and paste your information into a web portal form and verify it's all correct, not to mention you can write your fax document at any time and polish it up before sending in your request.

With faxing in a request to the FBI being the best way to make an FOIA request, it's projected that many more people will brush up on how to send a fax in the coming weeks and months. Only time will tell how other government agencies may follow suit and further expand the use of faxing in today's world.


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