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What is an Internet Policy?
The Internet is a central part of today's economy, especially in terms of e-commerce, and also communication and research. If you regularly use the Internet in your workplace, you can implement an Internet Policy to outline for your employees what you expect when they go online. This document can be used to detail appropriate and inappropriate uses of the Internet. It can apply to those working with computers, as well as smartphones, so that all Internet activity can conform to company rules and expectations. This includes limiting time on social media, and personal email accounts.
An Internet Policy is a way to help limit your liability as an employer, as both an employee and the business can be held liable under law for inappropriate or illegal uses of the Internet. You can use an Internet Policy to specify the correct practices, legal risks, unacceptable uses of the email system, and potential sanctions for any violations. The Internet Policy can be a standalone document, or can be included as a section in an employee handbook. In either case, you can ask employees to sign the policy, to show they have read and understood what the policy of your business is when it comes to using the Internet at work.
When to use an Internet Policy:
You're in HR and need to implement or update documents related to work practices.
Your company doesn't have an existing Internet policy in place.
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The purpose of this policy is to ensure the proper use of 's (hereinafter referred to as Company) internet system and make its employees and users aware of what the Company deems as acceptable and unacceptable use of its internet system. This policy also provides for sanctions in the event of a breach or violation of the policy terms hereunder.
This Policy applies to all users of company technology, including employees, contractors, vendors, partners, associates, and any other parties accessing or using the Company's System through on-site or remote terminals.
3. Disclaimer of liability for use of Internet.
The Company is not responsible for material viewed or downloaded by users from the Internet. The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that contains millions of pages of information. Users are cautioned that many of these pages include offensive, sexually explicit, and inappropriate material. In general, it is difficult to avoid at least some contact with this material while using the Internet. Even innocuous search requests may lead to sites with highly offensive content. In addition, having an e-mail address on the Internet may lead to receipt of unsolicited e-mail containing offensive content. Users accessing the Internet do so at their own risk.
4. Duty not to waste computer resources.
Employees must not deliberately perform acts that waste computer resources or unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of others. These acts include, but are not limited to, sending mass mailings or chain letters, spending excessive amounts of time on the Internet, playing games, engaging in online chat groups, printing multiple copies of documents, or otherwise creating unnecessary network traffic. Because audio, video and picture files require significant storage space, files of this or any other sort may not be downloaded unless they are business-related.
5. No expectation of privacy.
The computers and computer accounts given to employees are the exclusive property of the Company. No individual should have any expectation of privacy in any communication over this System. The System is to be used solely for company-related business, and is not to be used for personal business or pleasure.
6. Monitoring computer usage.
The Company reserves the right to monitor, intercept and/or review all data transmitted, received or downloaded over the System. Any individual who is given access to the System is hereby given notice that the Company will exercise this right periodically, without prior notice and without the prior consent of the employee. The Company's interests in monitoring and intercepting data include, but are not limited to: protection of company proprietary and classified data; managing the use of the Company's computer System; preventing the transmission or receipt of inappropriate materials by employees; and/or assisting the employee in the management of electronic data during periods of absence. No individual should interpret the use of password protection as creating a right or expectation of privacy. In order to protect everyone involved, no one can have a right or expectation of privacy with regards to the receipt, transmission or storage of data on the Company's Internet System.
7. Blocking of inappropriate content.
Company may use software to identify inappropriate or sexually explicit Internet sites. Such sites may be blocked from access by Company networks. In the event you nonetheless encounter inappropriate or sexually explicit material while browsing on the Internet, immediately disconnect from the site, regardless of whether the site was subject to company blocking software.
8. Prohibited activities.
Material that is fraudulent, harassing, embarrassing, sexually explicit, profane, obscene, intimidating, defamatory, or otherwise unlawful, inappropriate, offensive (including offensive material concerning sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or other characteristic protected by law), or in violation of Company's equal employment opportunity policy and its policies against sexual or other harassment may not be downloaded from the Internet or displayed or stored in Company's computers. Employees encountering, witnessing or receiving this kind of material should immediately report the incident to their immediate supervisor and , by phone at or email at . Company's equal employment opportunity policy and its policies against sexual or other harassment apply fully to the use of the Internet and any violation of those policies is grounds for discipline up to and including discharge.
9. Games and entertainment software.
Employees may not use the company's Internet connection to download games or other entertainment software, including wallpaper and screen savers, or to play games over the Internet.
10. Illegal copying.
Employees may not illegally copy material protected under copyright law or make that material available to others for copying. You are responsible for complying with copyright law and applicable licenses that may apply to software, files, graphics, documents, messages, and other material you wish to download or copy. You may not agree to a license or download any material for which a registration fee is charged without first obtaining the express written permission of your immediate supervisor and Human Resources.
11. Accessing the Internet
To ensure security and to avoid the spread of viruses, employees accessing the Internet through a computer attached to Company's network must do so through an approved Internet firewall. Accessing the Internet directly by modem is strictly prohibited unless the computer you are using is not connected to the company's network.
12. Virus detection.
Files obtained from sources outside the company, including disks brought from home; files downloaded from the Internet, newsgroups, bulletin boards, or other online services; files attached to e-mail; and files provided by customers or vendors may contain dangerous computer viruses that may damage the company's computer network. Employees should never download files from the Internet, accept e-mail attachments from outsiders, or use disks from non-company sources, without first scanning the material with company-approved virus checking software. If you suspect that a virus has been introduced into the company's network, notify the Help Desk immediately.
13. Sending unsolicited e-mail (spamming).
Without the express permission of their supervisors, employees may not send unsolicited e-mail to persons with whom they do not have a prior relationship.
14. Amendments and revisions.
This policy may be amended or revised from time to time as the need arises. Users will be provided with copies of all amendments and revisions.
15. Violations of this policy.
Any employee who abuses the privilege of access to the Company's Voicemail, E-mail or the Internet System will be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination. If necessary, the Company also will advise law enforcement officials of any illegal conduct.
16. Use of Internet.
Use of the Internet via Company's computer system constitutes consent by the user to all of the terms and conditions of this policy.
17. Points of Contact.
Questions concerning the use of the Internet System should be directed to , by phone at or email at . Questions concerning the improper use of the System should be directed to the employee's immediate supervisor and , by phone at or email at .
I have read, understand, and acknowledge receipt of the internet policy. I will comply with the guidelines set out in this policy and understand that failure to do so might result in disciplinary action up to termination of employment and potential legal action.
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