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Friday, August 15, 2014

Secrecy 2.0

We've got secret rules, secret forms, secret funding sources, secret evidence, secret reviews, secret reforms, secret brightlines, secret selection algorithmssecret de minimis standards.  And now you can add to the list: secret appeal decisions.

Seems that back in 2007, the FCC decided several appeals by remanding the applications to USAC.  By email.  As they should, they notified the public of their decision.  Seven years later.

So what if they took their time informing the public about their decision?  No big deal, right?  It's true that the applicants were given a second chance at approval, and at least some of the denials were overturned way back when.  But the applicants might have liked to know that the FCC granted their appeal.

More importantly, we could have used this decision as a precedent.  The denials were part of a USAC practice of requiring that applicants have all the documents listed in the document retention requirements of the Fifth Report & Order (the source of the unkillable "two-signature/two-date" rule).  USAC denied many applications because an applicant didn't create one of the documents in the list.  Several years later, USAC realized that the FCC never meant that all those documents had to be created, only that, if created, they had to be retained.  If this appeal had been published, it would have helped us convince USAC earlier.

What's next?  Secret Commissioners?  Secret disbursements?

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