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Acceptable use policy on wi-fi

29 September 2016

Essex Libraries provides wireless public access to the Internet in keeping with its role as a source of information, intellectual development and enrichment for the community. This access is provided on condition that:

  • you do not access any material which in law it would be an offence to possess, transmit or publish
  • you do not access any material which could be reasonably expected to cause offence to library staff or other customer
  • if you inadvertently access such material you immediately log off the site
  • you do not attempt unauthorised access to restricted areas of the network
  • you use the computers and other equipment provided in accordance with the conditions set out in this document (scroll down to view the full text)
  • you use your equipment entirely at your own risk; Essex County Council will not accept liability for any damage or malfunction however caused
  • you do not attempt to gain access to any other customer’s computer or other wireless device

Deliberate or wilful misuse of Essex Libraries' internet service may result in your access being withdrawn.

You are accessing an Essex Libraries’ computer and Internet Service and must comply with Essex Libraries’ Acceptable Use Policy and Applicable Law.

Misuse could constitute an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and/or other legislation, possibly leading to criminal proceedings. Essex Libraries has the right to monitor email and Internet traffic. Audit trails will be retained and may be checked.

This information will be kept for 40 days and will only be shared with other organisations for the prevention or detection of crime in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.
You may contact for further information.


Conditions of use

Essex County Council does not accept any responsibility for the availability of the wireless Internet service, nor any liability for any loss resulting from the non-availability of said service.
Staff may assist customers by recommending Internet resources either in person or via our own web pages. Whilst every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of such information Essex Libraries can accept no liability for loss or damages arising from use of any information accessed in this manner.
It is recommended that you have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on your PC and that you keep it updated. Essex County Council accepts no responsibility for viruses or security breaches.
Financial transactions may be carried out using the wireless Internet. Responsibility for the security of such transactions rests with the user and Essex Libraries cannot accept responsibility or liability for any loss or damages arising from such use of its network.
Where email services are listed they are provided by third party companies and organisations and any arrangements entered into by users who register with such companies are the responsibility of the individual registering. Essex Libraries do not accept any responsibility for contracts made between its customers and third party organisations.
The range and quality of information on the Internet is vast and Essex Libraries cannot be held responsible for the accuracy, validity, legality or usefulness of the information retrieved from the Internet.
If in doubt about the information gained via the Internet customers are advised to seek formal advice from the originating bodies. Essex Libraries accept no responsibility for the content or technical functionality of any external website.

Our wireless Internet content filter

Essex Libraries offer filtered access to the Internet for all users because:
  • We believe the majority of our customers expect us to attempt to ban the most extreme material on the Internet.
  • We should not aid the transmission of material by individuals that would be illegal.

The filter will block access to many of the most extreme sites on the Internet, however Essex Libraries does not have complete control over the information accessed so customers are reminded that transmission of any material in violation of any laws is prohibited.
This includes, but is not limited to, copyright material, threatening or obscene material, racist and violent material, pornographic material or material protected by trade secret. The filter operates by blocking a range of sites known to contain material that is deemed as unsuitable and enabling access to a range of sites that can be trusted.
All other sites are subjected to a weighting process, with certain words and phrases having either positive or negative weightings. If the weighting for a page exceeds a certain value, that page will be blocked. No immediate changes to the filter settings can be made by staff in the library, however customers can make their views known by:
  • talking to the staff
  • using the “Contact Us” button on the library catalogue
  • using a customer comments form
The wireless Internet filter has been set to the same level as the children’s filter on the People’s Network machines.
This is because we believe that this level of filtering is appropriate for most Internet access and because the Wi-Fi can be used anywhere within the library, potentially exposing children to the accessed material.
This also means that social networking sites are unavailable. If customers inadvertently access obscene or extremist material on the Internet we would prefer them to note the website address and advise library staff in order that we may arrange for the site to be blocked in future.

Use of specific resources

It is necessary to hold library membership and to have a password in order to use the Wi-Fi service. Customers must only use their own library membership.
Any customer found using the system with membership credentials other than their own will be barred from using the service. If it is believed that the credentials used were willingly provided the provider will also be barred from using the service. Access to the computers and Internet is free. Staff cannot give support or advice in the use of the Wi-Fi connection.
Changes to the law mean it is an offence to watch BBC programmes (live streaming or iPlayer catch-up) via the internet in Essex Libraries unless the device is operating solely under its battery power. Anyone found watching these services will be asked to desist immediately.
Refusal to do so will result in the session being immediately terminated and may lead to barring from the service.
In the event of Essex Libraries being prosecuted for breach of the Television Licensing laws resulting from a customer having used a device connected via the Essex Libraries’ Wi-Fi to watch live or catch-up BBC programmes then Essex Libraries will seek to recover all fines and legal costs from that customer. By using our Wi-Fi facilities you are agreeing to these terms.

Use by children

As is the case with all other library materials, a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the child’s parent or carer.
If a parent or guardian wishes that a child in their care should not have access to the Internet they should notify staff who will take action to restrict the facilities available. It should be noted that Essex Libraries believe that digital communications systems such as forums, chat rooms and instant messaging services provide important forms of social interaction in the modern age.
Whilst the filtering software will block out most inappropriate content parents and guardians are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that their children are briefed on the sensible use of such systems.
We do not allow access to social networking sites to Wi-Fi users. Persistent abuse of the Internet or failure to follow the terms of the Acceptable Use Policy by children will be notified to the child’s parent or carer.
In extreme cases action to ban access to the Internet or computer resources may be taken by the
Library Service after notifying the child’s parent or carer.
Parents are reminded that the content filter will not be fully effective in restricting access to material inappropriate for children.
The library encourages parents/carers to supervise their children’s use of the Internet and will provide guidance on how safe use can be made of the resources. However, as stated above, ultimate responsibility for safe browsing lies with the parent, guardian or carer.

Monitoring and privacy

Essex Libraries does not monitor your email or other communications electronically.
The web sites that you access or the applications you use on the computer may be recorded for statistical, performance monitoring purposes or to investigate allegations of misuse and will be stored in line with the Data Protection Act.
Essex Libraries will monitor the amount of data you download and upload. If your usage is considered excessive and to the detriment of customers and/or other users you will be warned. Repeated offences may result in access to the service being withdrawn.
The Wi-Fi software will retain data about the frequency and duration of your visits to use them. We do not pass any of your personal data collected in this way to outside organisations and/or individuals, except with your express consent or if required by law or other regulations.

We have implemented security policies, rules and technical measures to protect the personal data that we have under our control from:

  • unauthorised access
  • improper use or disclosure; unauthorised modification
  • unlawful destruction or accidental loss

All our employees and data processors who have access to, and are associated with the processing of personal data, are obliged to respect the confidentiality of our users’ personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.