Fax is Back: But did it ever leave?

Beginning next month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will no longer accept email requests for information and will instead require all electronic FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to come through fax. This decision mirrors the policies of government agencies including the CIA and DARPA who also rely on fax to process public records requests. With recent incidents such as the scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server and speculation of election results hacking, government agencies are under increasing pressure to protect their data from 3rd party intrusion. 

However, these articles from the Daily Dot and Tech Crunch would have you believe that fax is an outdated and archaic technology, and that this policy change requiring the use of fax for public records requests was a move designed specifically to slow the volume of these requests.

And therein lies the irony.

Sure, if you’re standing next to a fax machine waiting for dial tone and feeding in your document one page at a time, that will slow you down. But today’s modern fax technology is anything but antiquated. 

Today’s fax technology has progressed far beyond the fax machine, and modern fax servers and cloud fax solutions make sending a fax as easy and seamless as sending an email – and a lot more secure. Today, sending a fax takes no more time or effort than sending an email or printing a document, but provides enhanced security, tracking, receipt notifications, and real-time monitoring of the transmission.

Alternatively, the FBI plans to allow a small number of FOIA requests to be submitted via a new web portal, but according to the Daily Dot‘s Dell Cameron, “the filer must first provide a phone number, mailing address and other personal details” as well as agree to an extensive terms of service agreement. For requesters not willing to provide that much personal information, fax is the ideal solution.

So if the FBI and other agencies think this change will decrease the number of requests, they may be in for a surprise. With the improved tracking, reporting, and ease-of-use in today’s advanced fax solutions, these agencies may find themselves processing more requests than ever before.

Yes, fax is back. But really, it never left. Fax technology has continued to evolve and new innovations in encrypted networks, application integrations, and UI/UX enhancements continue to make fax the most secure and relied-upon form of business communication.

If you are interested in how your organization can better utilize today’s advanced fax technology to expedite communications, improve the security of your document transmissions, and meet the stringent requirements of governmental compliance, contact Instant InfoSystems today.