Acceptable Use Policy

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Version: 12

Issued: May 2016

Reference: MF-POL-006

Owner: J. Sharp

Last Reviewed Date: 04/10/2021


1. Janet is the name given to an electronic communications network and associated electronic  communications  networking  services  and  facilities  that  support  the  requirements  of  the  UK  education and research communities.  Organisations in the UK education and research communities use  Janet to  fulfil,  and  to  undertake  activities  supporting, their  missions of  providing  education, research, and business and community engagement.

2. This Acceptable Use Policy applies in the first instance to any organisation authorised to use Janet (a  “User Organisation”).    It  applies  also  to  use  of  Janet by  the  User  Organisation’s own members  and  all  those  to  whom  it  otherwise  provides  with  access  to  Janet (collectively,  its ''Members”).  In conjunction with the Janet Security Policy, it is an integral part of the Terms and Conditions for the Provision of the Janet Service (the “Janet Terms”).

3. The Acceptable Use Policy does not determine the eligibility of any particular organisation or individual to have a connection to and use Janet services.  This eligibility is determined by the Janet Network Connection Policy.    The  Acceptable  Use  Policy merely  defines  acceptable  and  unacceptable  use  of Janet by those who have been provided with access to Janet services under the terms of the  Janet Network Connection Policy.

4. Copies of the Janet Terms, and of the  Janet Network Connection Policy and Security Policies may be found on the Jisc website.

Acceptable Use

5. A User Organisation and its Members may use Janet for the purpose of communicating with other  User  Organisations  and  their  Members,  and  with  organisations,  individuals  and  services attached to networks which are reachable via Janet.  All use of Janet is subject to the Janet Terms.

6. Subject to clauses 8 to 16 below, Janet may be used by a User Organisation and its Members for  any  lawful  activity in  furtherance  of  the  missions  of  the  User  Organisation.    Use  by  the  User Organisation and its Members may be in pursuance of activities for commercial gain as well as for not for profit activities.  (See Note 1.)

7. It is the responsibility of the User Organisation to ensure that its Members use Janet services in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policy, and with current legislation.  (See Note 2.)

Unacceptable Use

8. Janet may  not  be  used  by  a  User  Organisation  or  its  Members  for  any activity  that  may reasonably be regarded as unlawful or potentially so.  This includes, but is not limited to, any of the following activities.  (See Note 3.)

9. Creation or transmission, or causing the transmission, of any offensive, obscene or indecent images,  data  or  other  material,  or  any  data  capable  of  being  resolved  into  obscene  or  indecent images or material.  (See Note 4.)

10. Creation or  transmission  of  material  with  the  intent  to  cause  annoyance,  inconvenience  or needless anxiety.

11. Creation or transmission of material with the intent to defraud.

12. Creation or transmission of defamatory material.

13. Creation or transmission of material such that this infringes the copyright of another person.

14. Creation  or  transmission  of  unsolicited  bulk  or  marketing  material  to  users  of  networked facilities or services, save where that material is embedded within, or is otherwise part of, a service to which the user or their User Organisation has chosen to subscribe.

15. Deliberate unauthorised access to networked facilities or services.  (See Note 5 and Note 6.)

16. Deliberate  or  reckless  activities  having,  with  reasonable  likelihood,  any  of  the  following characteristics:

16.1 wasting staff effort or Janet resources, including time on end systems on another User Organisation’s network, and the effort of staff involved in the support of those systems;

16.2 corrupting or destroying other users’ data;

16.3 violating the privacy of other users;

16.4 disrupting the work of other users;

16.5 denying service to other users (for example, by overloading of access links or switching equipment, of Janet services, or of services or end systems on another User Organisation’s network);

16.6 continuing to use an item of software or hardware after the Janet Network Operations Centre  or  its  authorised  representative has  requested  that  use  cease  because  it  is  causing disruption to the correct functioning of Janet;

16.7 other misuse of Janet, such as the introduction of “viruses” or other harmful software via Janet to resources on Janet, or on another User Organisation’s network.

Access to Other Networks via Janet

17. Where Janetis being used to access another network, any deliberate or persistent breach of the  acceptable  use  policy  of  that  network  will  be  regarded  as unacceptable  use  of  Janet.  Any activity as described in clause 16 above, and where applied either to a user of that network, or to an end system attached to it, will also be regarded as unacceptable use of Janet.

18. Any deliberate or persistent breach of industry good practice (as represented by the current standards of the London Internet Exchange) that is likely to damage the reputation of Janet will also be regarded prima facie as unacceptable use of Janet.


19. It  is  the  responsibility  of  the  User  Organisation  to  take  reasonable  steps  to  ensure  its Members’  compliance  with  the  conditions  set  out  in  this  Policy  document,  and  to  ensure  that unacceptable use of Janetis dealt with promptly and effectively should it occur.  The discharge of this responsibility includes informing all Members of the User Organisation with access to Janet of their obligations in this respect.  (see Note 7.)

20. Where necessary, service may be withdrawn from the User Organisation, in accordance with the JanetTerms.  Where violation of these conditions is unlawful, or results in loss or damage to Janet resources or the resources of third parties accessible via Janet, the matter may be referred for legal action.

Explanatory Notes

Note 1: The Acceptable Use Policy does not make any particular statement as to the acceptability of using Janet for activities resulting in commercial gain to the User Organisation, other than this is acceptable where lawful.  However, it should be noted that there are legal constraints applying to a publicly funded User Organisation in such activities.  Where the User Organisation is operating as an economic undertaking the issue of State Aid will need to be considered.  There is also an issue of the status of both Janet and the User Organisation’s network as private networks.  Both are addressed in the Janet Eligibility Policy and more particularly in the Janet factsheets referenced therein.

Note 2: It is preferable for misuse to be prevented by a combination of responsible attitudes to the use of Janet resources on the part of its users and appropriate disciplinary measures taken by their User Organisations.

Note 3: The list of unacceptable activities in this section is not exhaustive.  The purpose is to bring as clearly as possible to the reader’s attention those activities most commonly associated with the abuse and potentially unlawful use of a network.

Note 4: It may be permissible for such material to be received, created or transmitted where this is for properly supervised and lawful purposes.  This may include, for example, approved teaching or research, or the reception or transmission of such material by authorised personnel in the course of an  investigation  into  a  suspected  or  alleged  abuse  of the  institution’s  facilities. The  discretion  to approve  such  use,  and  the  responsibility  for  any  such  approval,  rests  with  the  User  Organisation. Universities UK has provided guidance on handling sensitive research materials.

Note 5: Implicit authorisation may only be presumed where a host and port have been advertised as  providing  a  service  (for  example  by  a  DNS  MX  record)  and will  be  considered  to  have  been withdrawn if a complaint from the provider of the service or resource is received either by the UserOrganisation  or  by  Janet. For  all  other  services  and  ports,  access  will  be  presumed  to  be unauthorised unless explicit authority can be demonstrated.

Note 6: Where  a  User  Organisation  wishes  to  commission  or  itself  perform  a  test  for vulnerabilities in its IT systems (for example, via “penetration testing”) this, as an action authorised by the User Organisation, will not be a breach of clause 15.  However, the User Organisation should inform the Janet CSIRT, in advance of the test, of the source, nature and timing of the test.  This is to  avoid  wasting  the  time  and  resources  of  the  CSIRT  in  investigating  the  perceived  attack  on  the User Organisation, or automatically blocking it.

Note 7: In order to discharge this responsibility, it is recommended that each User Organisation establishes its own statement of acceptable use within the context of the services provided to its Members. This should be cast in a form that is compatible with the provisions of this Acceptable Use Policy. Such a statement may refer to, or include  material  from  this  document. If material is included,  this  must  be  done  in  such  a  way  as  to  ensure  that  there is no misrepresentation  of  the intent  of  the  JanetAcceptable Use  Policy. The  Janet  Service  Desk  can  advise  on  this  aspect  if required.