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ACCEPTABLE USE OF THE STFC IT and communications SYSTEMS – Details and Penalties

The STFC Information Systems Privacy & Security Policy is the primary source of the STFC policy on acceptable use of its IT and communications systems. This document is intended as a guide to the interpretation of the policy and provides a list of uses which are specifically excluded and the penalties which will be applied to transgressors. The list is not necessarily complete.




Unacceptable use:

Any activity that falls within this definition will render an employee liable to disciplinary action. Serious instances of “unacceptable” use (e.g. forwarding a large number of chain emails) may be regarded as gross misconduct and may lead to summary dismissal. For non-employees the appropriate action will be discussed with the user’s management and may lead to a bar on site access.

Forbidden use:

Any 'forbidden' activity will render an employee liable to disciplinary action which, where the activity is deemed to amount to gross misconduct, will normally lead to summary dismissal. Other categories of user will be barred from site. Any suspected illegal action will be reported to the police.


  1. Unsolicited receipt of discriminatory, abusive, pornographic, obscene, illegal, offensive or defamatory e-mail (i.e. SPAM) will not be treated as a disciplinary offence. Anyone who receives such material should, where possible, file this in the #SPAM public folder in Exchange.

  2. Anyone accidentally accessing a pornographic or other inappropriate web page should report the matter to their line manager. No disciplinary action will be taken in such cases.

  1. Anyone accidentally viewing what they believe is illegal material (i.e. child pornography) must immediately stop what they are doing, take a note of where they found the illegal material and close the software application displaying the material. They must not view the illegal material again and must take appropriate measures to ensure that others cannot view the material. They must then inform their line manager and the STFC IS Security Officer in BITD (e-mail is adequate) who will decide how to proceed. It is a criminal offence to continue to view, allow others to view, or not report some illegal material.
  1. Support and Security teams, and others as part of an approved programme of work, may occasionally need to undertake activities that are excluded above in order to carry out their work. When doing so they are required to follow designated procedures (see the STFC Information Systems Privacy & Security Policy and Computer Misuse Investigation Process.), including obtaining advanced authorisation (usually from the Director, HR and the IS Security Officer but in some cases from line management as part of their normal duties).