Acceptable Use Guidelines for Communication on the County Network Including Email

The County takes pride in promoting a work environment that values excellence and professionalism and mutual respect -- qualities that extend to the use of our computing and communications resources.

The County's computing network, E-mail (electronic mail) and access to other external systems such as the Internet exist to support and facilitate County business. As such they should be considered privileged strategic resources.

It is each employee's responsibility to follow these County guidelines when using these facilities. These guidelines are designed to prevent use that may be illegal, abusive or adversely impact the County or its resources and at the same time show what usage is allowable. These guidelines supplement the actual policy and are provided to minimize the potential misinterpretation of the policies.


Understand the level of security.

When you send sensitive material electronically, it is important to verify that all recipients are authorized to receive such information. Also ensure the mechanism of transfer is secure. The transfer of sensitive information may prove more secure in written/printed format than through an electronic message.

No system of communications is completely secure, including e-mail. E-mail messages cannot be sent anonymously. Messages can also be quickly and easily copied and forwarded inappropriately. COUNTY PROPRIETARY INFORMATION MUST NOT BE MADE AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET OR ANY EXTERNAL SYSTEM WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT INFORMATION


Restrict usage to County employees and other authorized persons.

As with all County assets, only County employees and other authorized persons may use the network to send or view e-mail. Family members or other unauthorized persons may not use the County network for e-mail access.

Accessing Other Facilities Without Authorization

Unauthorized access to another employee's files or use of County facilities to gain unauthorized access to other County or non-County computing facilities is a major breach of security and ethics.


Maintain professionalism.

Every County employee who uses County resources to access the internet, agency networks, or any public bulleting board is responsible for ensuring posted messages are professional and businesslike and have the County's best interests in mind. As a way to impose personal restraint and professionalism, ASSUME THAT WHATEVER YOU WRITE MAY AT SOME TIME BE MADE PUBLIC.

Remember that these guidelines apply to personal expressions as well.

Your responsibility extends beyond confidential or classified information to include personal viewpoints. If postings to the internet, another agency's network, or any external public bulletin or news system are taken out of context or misinterpreted, they can have an unplanned and negative impact on the County or be misconstrued as official County endorsements or statements.

Do not communicate or store inappropriate content.

If you want to post a message on the Internet or via e-mail and are unsure about its sensitivity review the message with your supervisor or County Solicitor’s Office. Communicating or storing on County resources any material which falls into any of the following categories is unacceptable:

* Any form of a "chain" letter.

* Sexually explicit or suggestive material, particularly pornographic material that violates applicable law.

* Material that expresses or promotes discriminatory attitudes based upon religion, gender, age, nationality or other groups.

* Software used for "hacking" or "cracking" internal or external computer systems such as viruses, mail bombs and the like.

* Harassment or threats.

* Business activities unrelated to County business.

* Messages that intentionally misrepresent the identity of the sender.

* Material that is illegal in other ways.

* Material that persons of reasonable sensibility may find personally offensive or inappropriate.



Get authorization before broadcasting an e-mail bulletin to all employees.

Mechanisms are in place for distribution of approved bulletins and notices. Group e-mail accounts have been established for some areas and upon request can be created as needed for other areas.

Individuals wishing to send e-mail bulletins to all County or agency employees must first obtain authorization from agency management or from the Commissioners for County-wide distribution, or from the President Judge for Court-wide distribution.


Follow proper network etiquette.

Common sense and good taste dictate the following tips for proper use of network resources:.* Never forget that the person receiving your message has feelings and deserves to be treated with respect.

* Please remember that people all over the world could read your words.

* Be brief.

* Your news postings reflect upon you and the County.

* Use descriptive titles in your subject line.

* Only post a message once.

* Read all follow-ups and don't repeat what has already been said.

* Honor all copyrights and licenses.

* Cite appropriate references.

If in doubt about network usage or the above guidelines, please contact your supervisor or the legal office.


Don't keep it if you don't need it.

Be prudent in retaining e-mail messages. Delete unnecessary messages immediately, and review other messages for retention on a periodic basis (preferably, at least once a month). Sensitive information should be printed, stored in printed format and then be removed from the computer system.