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Re: Director Database Marketing (Herndon VA US) (

  • From: Dean Anderson
  • Date: Thu Sep 03 14:28:50 1998

>o	Is focused on whether the whois database is within the purview of
>	the Privacy Act of 1974, but doesn't directly address the ownership
>	of the whois database;
>o	Doesn't discuss the relevance of the FARs, which explicitly talk
>	about the ownership rights of government contractors; and
>o	Says that the NSF asserts that NSI owns the whois database.

Actually, I just read Karls page. The NSF just says it doesn't maintain the
database and that the database Karl refers to is maintained by NSI, and
therefore NSF isn't subject to or can't respond to Privacy Act requests on
this particular database. (The implication here being that NSI might still
be) Perhaps that is true. 

But where the NSF says the database is created by NSI I think is factually
incorrect.  "The so-called domain name database to which you refer consists
of information collected, maintained and used by NSI pursuant to that
cooperative.."  NSI did not collect or create the database. It was
transferred to them from the NSF, which formerly maintained the database.
According the NSF letter, there apparently weren't any domain registrations
prior to the formation of NSI, which we know is incorrect.

Indeed, as the NSF states "the FOIA applies to records which have been in
fact obtained...".  The database, having been created by the NSF, was "in
fact obtained" by the NSF.

Perhaps what Karl should do is write another letter to ask if on say,
December 1st, 1989, did the NSF maintain such a database, and did his name
appear in it. 

I suspect the answer to that question would be in the affirmative, or at
least to the effect that "NSF did maintain such a database at that time,
but we can't determine if your name appeared..."

Then he should ask NSI the same question, since while the FOIA and privacy
act wouldn't apply to databases CREATED by NSI, it would apply to databases
RECEIVED from the NSF, and subsequently maintained by NSI. And see what
their answer is.  I think he could also point out that the database would
be given back to the NSF in the event of contract termination, or to
another subcontractor if the contract were re-assigned to someone else, so
the database is really "materials belonging the the NSF", and subject to
the Privacy and FOIA Acts.

           Plain Aviation, Inc        

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