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People’s Network Acceptable Use Policy

29 September 2016

Essex Libraries provides public access to the Internet and other computer equipment 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 customers
  • 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)

DELIBERATE OR WILFUL MISUSE OF ESSEX LIBRARIES’ INTERNET SERVICE OR DAMAGE TO ANY COMPUTER EQUIPMENT MAY RESULT IN YOUR ACCESS BEING WITHDRAWN.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 libraries.feedback@essex.gov.uk for further information.(If you are under 16 this agreement is considered to be the responsibility of your parent or carer).

Conditions of use

Essex County Council does not accept any responsibility for the availability of the Internet service, nor does it guarantee that bookings made in advance will be honoured if circumstances dictate otherwise. In this case ECC accepts no liability for any consequential loss or damages arising out of attempts to take up such a booking.

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.

Software is provided on the equipment to protect against computer viruses, however Essex Libraries cannot accept responsibility or liability for loss or damages arising from the use of any computer equipment it provides, including any loss of data. Financial transactions may be carried out using the computer equipment.

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 equipment.

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 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

 

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 computer equipment and the Internet. 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 although there may be charges for printing, use of peripheral devices such as scanners and use of some online training courses and tuition.

Staff can give free assistance in use of the equipment up to ten minutes per user provided there are sufficient staff on duty at the time.

Most computers may be booked in advance. Maximum booking periods will be set by the library service. Extension of the period of use of a computer beyond the maximum period may be permitted at the discretion of library staff.

In some libraries there will be a computer or computers that cannot be pre-booked and on which the maximum length of session is limited and cannot be extended.

This is to ensure there is availability of resources to drop-in users in the event of all other computers being in use or booked.

If customers do not arrive to take up a pre-booked session within ten minutes of the start of the booked period they will lose the reservation.

Group use of a single computer is discouraged because of the potential disruption to other users but may be permitted at the discretion of library staff.

Customers have access to standard removable storage media such as USB memory sticks, 3.5 inch floppy disks or CD-RW disks for the storage and handling of data.

Customers may bring their own memory sticks, floppy disks or CDs to the library for this purpose. All devices used in this manner will be subject to virus scanning by the software installed for this purpose. If the anti-virus software informs you that it has found a virus you should stop what you are doing immediately and inform a member of staff.

Users may also temporarily store data that only they can access on the local hard drive of the computer although any files stored here will be deleted the next time a user logs on.

Customers will not be permitted to download any programs from the Internet or from any storage device and either run them on the computer or install them on the hard disk of the computer.

Software and email file attachments may be downloaded from the Internet to the users’ floppy disk, CD-RW, external storage device, or temporary hard drive storage area.

Access is provided to the World Wide Web and web based email services (unless sites are already filtered out through the software identified above).

Interactive game playing is allowed subject to the limitation of the maximum booking period.

Use of telnet and ftp is not allowed.

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.

 

Whilst the filtering software will block out most inappropriate content and sites, the filter will not be fully effective in restricting access to material inappropriate for children; parents and guardians are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that their children are briefed on the sensible use of the internet and web-based email services.

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.

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.

The booking system and online tutorials 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.