Legality Help on personal file storage at work

  JConcept4 13:05 11 Jan 2010

Hi all

Can anybody point me in the direction of where I can find some legal notes on 'personal Illegal files being stored on works computers'?

After having a vist from a local tech company who was updating our servers they mentioned their company had been fined recently for users storing downloaded music on their work computers.

This got me thinking and now my company want to put a stop to users storing any personal files on works computers and they would like to have some legal blurb to go in the company handbook explaining why and to cover themselves.

Does anybody on here know where I could find information on this?

Hopefully I have put this in the right forum.



  Forum Editor 18:48 12 Jan 2010

I suggest that you get each employee to sign a copy of an agreement along these lines:-

"You agree and understand that as a condition of your employment you are responsible for taking all reasonable steps necessary to secure the company’s network, computers, information and communications systems against unauthorised access and/or abuse. Any deliberate violation of this condition will result in immediate disciplinary action.

You further agree and understand that you are responsible for complying with current UK and EU legislation where it affects the use of our computer systems and equipment. The company will provide you with the means to understand current legislation as if affects your work for the company - either in written form or in the form of training at your place of work, or an alternative location designated by us. Any attempt - successful or otherwise - to make illegal use of the company's computer systems may result in disciplinary action and/or prosecution.

The following actions may also result in immediate disciplinary action:

1. The deletion,copying, or modification of files and/or data created by other company computer users, or by any other company or individual with whom the company has business dealings.

2. The use of company computers for the conduct of personal commercial activities.

3. The use of company computers for personal entertainment purposes.

4. The use of company computers for immoral, illegal or unethical purposes of any kind.

5. The deliberate use of a company computer or other device in a way that damages or disrupts any computing system, alters it normal performance, or causes it to malfunction.

6. The unauthorised removal (for any length of time)from the company's premises of any item of company computing equipment or file storage media."

Please understand that this is not necessarily a definitive text. I am often asked to advise clients on these matters, and my suggested wording varies, depending on specific circumstances. You should satisfy yourself that your text deals with your own concerns - we can't accept any liability for your use of my suggestions, although you should find that I've covered most of the common issues.

Make sure that each employee signs a document to signify that he.she has read and understood the rules, and ensure that you provide adequate information and/or training about any relevant laws. You want to make sure that nobody can later claim 'I wasn't told what the law was, so I didn't realise that downloading 50 Gigabytes of music from a torrent was illegal'.

Good luck, let me know if you need any further help or advice.

  JConcept4 15:54 13 Jan 2010

Thanks a lot for the information, that is a perfect starting point for us. I'm not sure exactly what we need to cover but that ticks all the boxes.

I'll pass the information on to my MD and if I need anything else I'll be sure to ask for more help.

Thanks again

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