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Document Reference: GEN-DOC-005 - Please see here for additional document control information.

Organisations that connect to Janet agree to abide by the Terms for the Provision of the Janet Service, including complying with the Janet Eligibility, Security and Acceptable Use Policies. These Policies exist to support the use of Janet for its intended purpose as the UK’s education and research network. The Eligibility Policy ensures that organisations and individuals are only connected to the network where this will benefit that purpose. The Security Policy sets the responsibilities of connected organisations to control the risk of their actions or inactions harming other organisations using Janet or the wider Internet. The Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) defines the types of activity that are permitted (and those not permitted) on the network in order to preserve its research and education purpose, and makes connected organisations responsible for their users’ compliance with the AUP.

2.1 Janet Policy Requirements for Guests

The Janet Policies make organisations responsible for everyone to whom they grant Janet access, including any guests and visitors (see sections 2.3, 4.8 and 4.9 for visitors). In terms of the Security Policy and AUP, guests are no different to the organisation’s own users; however three aspects of  the Janet Security Policy may require different treatment when an organisation provides Janet access to a guest who does not have a formal link with the organisation, such as someone who is neither their employee nor student. These are contained within sections 6 and 9 of the Security Policy:

6. ... Each User Organisation must ensure that all use of Janet by those individuals and Connected Organisations to whom it provides network access complies with this Security Policy and the Janet Acceptable Use Policy. The User Organisation must also ensure that information about security issues can be communicated rapidly within the organisation and to Janet and that problems are resolved promptly ...

9. Each Connected Organisation must act responsibly to protect the network. This duty includes:

  • Taking effective measures to ensure that there is no security threat to Janet or other Connected Organisations from insecure devices connected to the Organisation’s network;
  • Taking effective measures to protect against security breaches, in particular ensuring that recommended security measures are implemented;
  • Taking effective measures to ensure that security breaches can be investigated and that other users of the network are protected from the consequences of breaches;
  • Assisting in the investigation and repair of any breach of security;
  • Promoting local policies in support of this Janet Security Policy, backed by adequate disciplinary and other procedures for enforcement;
  • Implementing appropriate measures for giving, controlling and accounting for access to Janet, backed by regular assessments of the risks associated with the measures chosen;
  • Taking reasonable measures to encourage its users to act responsibly in compliance with this Policy and the Janet AUP, and ensuring that they are enabled to do so through systems, procedures and training that support good security practice.

These mean that the organisation must endeavour:

  1. to prevent unauthorised users from gaining access to Janet by using its facilities;
  2. to ensure that its provision of Janet access to authorised guests (and, if  required, their computers) does not represent a threat to other users of Janet and the Internet;
  3. to ensure that authorised guests are informed of, and abide by, the Janet Policies and other policies that may apply to their use of the network connection provided to them.

Methods used to satisfy these requirements for local staff and students may not work for guests. For example, policies and the need to comply with them may be incorporated within staff contracts or student rules, neither of which may cover guests. Protection against unauthorised use may depend on particular configurations of computer and software that cannot be applied (because of licences, permissions, or the time required) to laptops, PDAs or mobile phones brought in by guests. Approaches that rely on the deterrent effect of possible sanctions, potentially including suspension or dismissal, may be much less effective in controlling the activities of a guest who may not plan to return to the organisation in any case. Organisations offering Janet connections to guests therefore need to plan how they will satisfy these Policy requirements for those guests, and may need to consider different ways of controlling activity from those used for their own staff and students.

2.2 Managing Risk

As discussed in the previous section, providing network access to non-members of the organisation represents an increased risk to the organisation. If an organisation provides a person with network access and that access is then used to cause harm to others – whether by hacking, sending malicious messages, downloading illegal material, or many other types of inappropriate use – then the organisation is likely to be blamed. This may in turn cause harm to the organisation, for example

(quoting from our factsheet ‘User Authentication’):

  • Jisc may, in extreme cases, suspend or withdraw the right to connect to Janet if an organisation’s behaviour represents a serious threat to other users of the network;
  • other users may be reluctant to accept communications from an organisation that does not deal promptly and effectively with problem; for example some Janet sites have found themselves on blacklists that prevent them exchanging e-mail with others;
  • in a few circumstances, the courts may fine an organisation or imprison its directors if crimes were committed as a result of their negligence, in other words, if they have not taken reasonable care to avoid causing foreseeable harm;
  • more often, courts may order organisations to pay damages to individuals or businesses who have suffered loss or harm because of their negligence;
  • society and the press may publicly blame an organisation that fails to meet the standards expected of it.

These risks can never be eliminated without disconnecting entirely from the network; however, it is possible to reduce them to an acceptable level. The Janet Policies (and the Janet community) do not expect connected organisations to remove all possibility of misuse: they expect them to take reasonable care to reduce the opportunities for misuse and to deal with it effectively when it does occur.

In deciding whether and how to offer network connectivity to guests, organisations therefore need to balance the benefit they obtain by offering connectivity against the risk that it may cause them harm. As the following sections and case studies will show, there are many different tools and techniques that can be used to reduce the risk of harm. For most organisations, systems for providing guest access will involve the use of a number of these tools and techniques working together to provide an appropriate balance of benefit and risk, with an acceptable level of administrative effort for the organisation. This balance will depend on the circumstances of each individual organisation, including factors such as:

  • the number of guests, the duration of their visits, and whether they come from inside or outside the education community
  • the degree of connectivity needed by guests, which may be anything from filtered web browsing to high-speed open IP connectivity
  • whether access is required in specific locations or generally across the site
  • whether guests will use their own equipment or terminals managed by the organisation.

It should also be noted that the organisation’s requirements and assessment of risk may well change over time. Many organisations have found that once they provided a guest facility it has been used in different ways from what was anticipated. Technological and organisational changes can also change both requirements and risks, as can the expectations of guests. Organisations should therefore be prepared to review their guest access provision and to adapt it to meet new knowledge and requirements. Using a combination of tools, as suggested in this guide, should make it easier for the system to evolve to meet new requirements by adding or modifying components.

2.3 Janet Policy Requirements for Visitors

If Janet is used to backhaul traffic to a public internet access provider for visiting members of the public who are not guests then that traffic remains subject to the Janet Security and Acceptable Use Policies. The Eligibility Policy requirements that the traffic must be carried in an encrypted tunnel and that users must be authenticated address part of this requirement, however enforcement of the Policies may require an agreement between the organisation and its partner access provider, especially if the organisation is responsible for the authentication process.

Carrying public traffic in an encrypted tunnel means that any insecure devices that may connect to the public service cannot be used as a way to launch an attack within the Janet network. The use of encryption satisfies Janet's legal duty to protect the privacy of public traffic. If the volume of traffic in the tunnel causes problems for other Janet services then Janet CSIRT are authorised by section 10 of the Janet Security Policy to take such temporary technical measures as may be needed to mitigate those problems until the organisation and its partner access provider are able to resolve them at source.

Requiring authentication means that problems can be traced to an individual account* so that problems can be dealt with at the level of a single user's equipment or behaviour. If this were not done then problems would have to be dealt with by restricting or blocking all public traffic from the organisation. Authentication also satisfies the Janet Security Policy requirement that organisations take appropriate measures to control access to the network, and provides an opportunity to inform users of the policies that apply.

Breaches of the Janet Acceptable Use Policy are likely also to be breaches of the AUP of the partner access provider so the organisation should discuss with the provider how they will be dealt with in accordance with contractual and legal duties. Restrictions applied by commercial providers to accounts or services that are used in breach of policy may differ from the approach normally taken by Janet.

*Authentication is typically taken to mean authentication of the particular individual accessing the network. Increasingly, options for device authentication are becoming technically available, but these would only fulfil this requirement if an auditable connection to the end user were maintained. For example, if an end user were to be issued with a device that authenticates to the network through its own preinstalled certificate, the organisation would be required to keep a separate record of to whom that device had been issued.

2.3.1 Legal Issues When Connecting Visitors

As well as the Janet Policy issues, providing network access for visitors (as opposed to guests) is likely to involve additional legal duties. This is because a visitor network is likely to be "available to the public" and therefore classed as a Public Electronic Communications Service (PECS) under the Communications Act 2003 and other laws. Unlike Janet and most of its customers' networks, providers of Public Electronic Communications Services are subject to additional legal requirements to ensure the integrity of the service, to protect the privacy of users of the network, and to deal in prescribed ways with particular types of misuse. Laws in these areas are developing rapidly, so the following sections can only offer an indication of where obligations may arise; however organisations offering public access networks need to be prepared to operate these differently from their current networks and, indeed, from some current public access networks.

On integrity, the European Telecoms Directives now require public networks to be designed with a level of reliability appropriate to their use. Significant failures of availability must be reported to national regulators. Since Ofcom suggest that a "significant" failure of Internet access is one that disconnects 100,000 users for 24 hours it seems likely that any failure of a visitor access network would be considered minor and that the reliability designed into existing organisational networks would be sufficient.

On privacy the differences are more significant. In order to protect the privacy of traffic on public networks, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 makes it a crime for the operator to intercept such a network other than for purposes recognised by law (on a private network this is only a civil wrong for which the operator can be sued­). In one case a network operator was sentenced to six months imprisonment and a £20,000 fine for unlawful interception. The Telecoms Directives and their UK transposition also require all privacy breaches on public networks to be reported to the Information Commissioner: current guidance is that all breaches must be reported monthly with serious breaches reported immediately. The Commissioner may also require that breaches be reported to affected individuals. Since encryption is considered an acceptable way to mitigate damage from any privacy breaches organisations offering visitor access should ensure that wherever possible this traffic is encrypted and that the operation of networks and equipment carrying it meets the standards required by the Act and Directives.

Governments are increasingly viewing network providers as key partners in managing threats both to and from users of the Internet. In some areas this has already been formalised in legislation: the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 may require public networks to retain information about when users logged on, who they e-mailed and telephoned; the Digital Economy Act 2017 may require them to block access to adult sites that do not implement age verification. Most of these duties require the ability to distinguish individual users, so are most naturally done by the organisation that manages accounts and authenticates users. Where a public communications service is provided by collaborating organisations, for example where one provides wireless infrastructure and another does user account management, laws normally allow the organisations to agree which of them will perform the duties required. Organisations providing public access should therefore agree the division of these legal duties – and any that may arise in future – with their partner internet access provider.

Although no law has yet mandated that all public Internet access must be authenticated, these and similar laws are likely to cause difficulties for unauthenticated networks since without control of individual users there may be no way to deal with a problem other than to turn off the entire service.

2.4 Summary

To ensure that an organisation satisfies its responsibilities under the Janet Terms and Conditions, any arrangements made for guest users and visitors must provide ways:

a) to inform the guest or visitor of the AUP and other applicable policies

b) to reduce the risk of misuse (including accidental connection to Janet of those who are not guests) to an acceptable level. This normally involves both proactive measures to prevent or limit misuse and reactive measures to hold to account those responsible for any misuse that does occur. Clearly the balance between these measures can vary – if the preventive measures are strong there may be less need for control by accountability, and vice versa.

The following sections examine some of the tools that may be used to reduce the risk of misuse, and then give a number of case studies on how different Janet-connected organisations have provided network access for their guests and visitors while addressing these issues.