Director Database Marketing (Herndon VA US) (

Tim Salo just pointed out to me some flaws in my reading of Karls NSF
letter, and some history I was unaware of or at least forgotten:

The key being that it was SRI who actually created the database under
contract from NSF. Meaning the database might not be subject to the FOIA
or Privacy acts, and in fact might be property of SRI/NSI.

He points out that NSF *probably* directed the SRI to give the database to
NSI, and so the NSF in fact may never have actually handled the database at

Of course, the NSF letter to Karl still claims that the DB was created by
NSI, which still isn't correct.

In light of that, I suppose one can still argue that if the NSF directed
the SRI to give the database to NSI, then the database wasn't property of
the SRI, and that its creation was part of the contract. So it would still
be property of the NSF. On the otherhand, I suppose that SRI could state it
originally owned the DB, and gave it to NSI under private arrangements not
related to NSF.... So perhaps one should look for such a directive from the
NSF to the SRI, and whether SRI thought the database belonged to it or to
the NSF.

It seems to me that given these rules, a federal agency could trivially
avoid both the FOIA and Privacy Act merely by outsourcing the creation and
administration of its records. I don't think that it was the intention for
either of these acts to allow that, so perhaps that might be an argument, too.


Would it have been the NSF that originally paid SRI to create the whois
database or would it have been ARPA? My memory is fading on the timeline
of that stuff...