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Internet Usage Policy

Category Human Resources
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 17 May 2011
Date Policy Took Effect 17 May 2011
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Human Resources Director
Responsible Officer Director, Human Resources/Director, Information Technology Services
Review Date 17 May 2021

Purpose

The University provides computing equipment and access to the internet to enable staff to carry out their work for the University, and allows limited use which is not work related. The purpose of this policy is to define what the University considers appropriate usage of the internet and how access to the internet will be managed and monitored.

Organisational Scope

This policy applies to all University staff, contractors and subsidiary companies.

Definitions

Computer - includes any electronic device provided by the University, or connected to its networks, which is capable of accessing the internet.

Internet usage - for the purpose of this policy internet usage includes accessing websites, email, peer to peer networking and data sharing and "internet" has a corresponding meaning.

Inappropriate material - is material which could reasonably be described as unsuitable or offensive having regard to the nature of the particular workplace and includes material which is pornographic or is otherwise objectionable.

Policy Content

1. General

(a) Staff are provided with facilities and equipment to access the internet for legitimate work related activity.

(b) Staff are also allowed to use the University’s internet facilities for non-work related activity provided this is carried out outside of usual work hours and is limited to three hours each week with no more than one hour each day. This includes personal use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

(c) Staff are prohibited from: creating, viewing, accessing, attempting to access, storing, or displaying inappropriate material either electronically or in hard copy.

(d) If staff receive an email containing inappropriate content they must delete it immediately and, where the sender is known to them, notify the sender not to send such emails.

(e) If staff inadvertently open a website containing inappropriate content they must exit from the website immediately.

(f) All peer to peer usage must be for legitimate University business only.

(g) It is accepted that there may be occasions when access by academic staff to inappropriate material, or exchanges of such material between academic colleagues, is needed for research or teaching purposes. In those circumstances academic staff must be able to justify their access to the University's satisfaction, or have written authorisation for such access from their Head of Division (Deans in Health Sciences).

2. Blocking Access to Certain Websites

(a) The University will restrict access to certain categories of website and will manage this by classifying websites into three categories:

(i) Sites that are available at all times, this is all sites except b & c below.

(ii) Sites blocked during normal work hours, which is defined as between 8:30am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Friday. These are categories of sites that are very unlikely to have a legitimate work usage and include:

  • Auction sites
  • Dating sites
  • Gambling sites
  • Game sites

(iii) Sites that contain pornographic and/or objectionable material will be completely blocked as far as is practicable.

(b) The Vice-Chancellor will determine the sites to be blocked upon a recommendation from the Director of Information Technology Services (ITS).

(c) Any staff member who has a legitimate need to access sites under categories b & c may apply to their Head of Division (Deans in Health Sciences) to gain access.

(d) ITS will be responsible for managing the internet restrictions and Departments are required to ensure that their internet access is filtered according to this Policy and that any internet management software is installed as determined by ITS.

3. Monitoring and Enforcement

(a) Computing equipment and access to the internet are provided for work purposes and not for personal use. Accordingly, with the prior approval of the Vice-Chancellor, the University may track the usage, or examine the content, of any computer which has been provided by the University, or which is connected to its networks, at any time without prior notice to the staff member using the computer. This includes accessing emails or other electronic communications. Where such access would be appropriate for genuine academic, commercial, or other reasons, an exemption must be obtained from the staff member's Head of Division.

(b) ITS is responsible for monitoring internet usage and the management of the network in accordance with this policy. This includes:

(i) tracking usage and identifying any concerns;

(ii) establishing a system for staff to acknowledge the policy when they log on for the first time and for this to be repeated annually.

(c) ITS will advise the relevant Head of Division and the Human Resources Director of any suspected breaches of this policy. Any concerns will be investigated in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Ethical Behaviour Policy. Breaches of this policy may be viewed as serious misconduct which could result in disciplinary action being taken.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Ethical Behaviour Policy
Film, Video and Publication Classification Act 1993
Information Technology Services (ITS) Policies

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the Director, Human Resources at kevin.seales@otago.ac.nz or (03) 479 8267.