Acceptable use of the network

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All organisations connected to Janet are subject to the Janet AUP. This permits Janet to be used for any purpose that is legal, that is socially acceptable to the community Janet serves, and that does not cause degradation of the performance of the network beyond that which might reasonably be expected. All use of the network does, of course, have an impact on performance; the intent is to prevent reckless or inconsiderate activities by users at one organisation causing inconvenience to others. It is important that all users of the network are aware of the AUP. Connected organisations are therefore encouraged to set up a local AUP (see below) and require users to sign up to it.

A key concept of the AUP is that activities, other than those that are detailed below, are permissible when they are in accordance with the aims and policies of the organisation concerned. An organisation may therefore make its own policy regarding recreational use of Janet by its staff and students, or regarding the use of JANET by departments engaged on external contracts, or by staff engaged upon authorised private consultancy work. Most categories of unacceptable activity are designed to take account of relevant legislation.

Janet may not be used for any of the following:

  • the infringement of copyright
  • hacking, or other deliberately disruptive activity
  • the transmission or creation of obscene or offensive material
  • the transmission or creation of material of a threatening nature, or intended to harass, frighten etc
  • the transmission or creation of material of a libellous nature
  • the transmission of unsolicited commercial or advertising material or similar activities (spamming).

Where advertising material is embedded within, or is otherwise part of a service to which the user has chosen to subscribe, it is deemed to be permissible. Similarly, JANET(UK) would be prepared to sanction the use of JANET to transmit obscene or offensive material where this was necessary in pursuance of a properly supervised research project. In these circumstances the organisation must obtain permission from JANET(UK) prior to commencing the project, accept responsibility for the legal restrictions that exist and ensure that they are adhered to.

Note that the organisation may be legally liable for serious breaches of these restrictions. Where an organisation is shown to have breached the AUP, JISC may decide to either temporarily suspend the JANET service or withdraw the service for an indefinite period.

A copy of the AUP is sent to each organisation when an initial enquiry is made about the connection process. Additional copies may be obtained from the JANET Service Desk, or the JANET web site at:

Producing a Local Acceptable Use Policy

All JANET-connected organisations should formulate a local AUP and ask staff and students to sign a declaration to confirm that they will abide by its rules. Students under the age of 18 should have their forms countersigned by their parent or legal guardian.

Suggested Headings for Formulating an AUP
  • Introduction (on the need for users to conform to standards of use and behaviour)
  • Whom the policy affects
  • List of equipment, networks, and data to which the policy refers (i.e. all, but specify items such as 'all servers, PCs, laptops, systems')
  • Access to the network(s) (mention use and changing of passwords)
  • Viruses and virus checking
  • Access to and use of the Internet
  • Use of discussion groups and chat (if allowed) (protocols and etiquette should be included)
  • Use of software (cover licensing aspects and specify the screensaver software to which users should be limited)
  • Copying software (the illegality should be stressed and consequences for students/employees made clear)
  • Use of e-mail
  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Physical security of computing equipment
  • Backing-up strategies and rules.

UCISA publishes model regulations for use of organisational IT facilities and systems at: