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Protecting a business’ trade secrets and digital data from thievery and sabotage in the digital age requires more than a security guard or state-of-the-art security system. Today, the parlance of corporate security drips with terms like “firewall,” “virus,” “worm” and “denial of service.” Laptop computers, used by many companies because they are so convenient, are portable security leaks waiting to happen: Their hard drives often contain a veritable treasure-trove of confidential corporate information. Moreover, many e-mails, sent both internally and externally, contain sensitive and protection-worthy secrets. Preventing such potential breaches and exposures often is vital to a company’s survival. There are steps that a company can take to prevent these problems. For example, password-protected workstations requiring employees to encrypt data or carry a portable thumbprint scanner to “lock out” unauthorized users of a lost or stolen laptop are effective and reasonably priced. Putting download and content policies in place can help prevent people from circumventing these safeguards. Also, having straightforward, easily adhered to e-mail and password policies can help curb the risk of unchecked data floating around cyberspace. What follows is an example of an interactive system use policy designed to help your client company avoid “digital doomsday.” It should accompany a policy designed to help a company avoid liability for monitoring its employees’ e-mail and Internet use. ABC CORPORATION Policy on Acceptable Use of Interactive Systems Purpose ABC Corporation (“ABC”) provides (or in the future intends to provide) its employees with access to various systems, offering services such as e-mail, voice mail, word processing and other third-party computer programs, access to the Internet and the World Wide Web, access to an internal intranet, and access to various third-party search and research aids, such as ________ and ________ (all of such systems being collectively referred to herein as “Interactive Systems”). The types of Interactive Systems available from or through ABC will likely change over time. This Policy will apply equally to all such Interactive Systems, including any new Interactive Systems added after the effective date of this Policy, regardless of whether such Interactive Systems are accessed from an ABC office, at a user’s home or elsewhere. The purpose of this Policy is to delineate the acceptable uses of ABC’s Interactive Systems, to set forth general standards for such use and to adopt specific rules governing such use. In general, ABC is providing access to its Interactive Systems as a business tool, as a means of enhancing productivity and enabling ABC employees to communicate effectively with the world at large. Other uses are secondary. Uses that threaten the integrity of ABC’s Interactive Systems, the function of non-ABC equipment that can be accessed through ABC’s Interactive Systems, the confidentiality of proprietary information, or the privacy or actual or perceived safety of others, or that are otherwise illegal are forbidden. Access to the System This Policy will govern all use of ABC’s Interactive Systems. Violations of this Policy will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In appropriate circumstances, violations of this Policy can be grounds for suspension or termination of access privileges, as well as other disciplinary actions, up to and including suspension or termination of employment. In addition, some activities may lead to risk of legal liability, both civil and criminal, both for the individual user and, in some cases, for ABC. By using ABC’s Interactive Systems, each user assumes personal responsibility for its appropriate use and agrees to comply with this Policy and other applicable ABC policies, as well as all applicable local, state and federal laws, rules and regulations. The use of ABC’s Interactive Systems is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use can result in a termination or suspension of some or all of those privileges. Users will be expected to abide by generally accepted rules of network etiquette, including, but not limited to, this Policy. Users of ABC’s Interactive Systems are required to review and understand this Policy. Privacy of Information While ABC does not intend to routinely review the contents of files on its Interactive Systems, ABC employees can and will engage in routine maintenance and monitoring of various aspects of ABC’s Interactive Systems from time to time. Accordingly, users of ABC’s Interactive Systems should NOT have any expectation of privacy in the contents of any file that they may maintain on ABC’s Interactive Systems, including, but not limited to, personal e-mail messages and/or files maintained on their local hard drive. Routine maintenance and monitoring of ABC’s Interactive Systems may lead to the discovery that a particular user has violated or is violating this Policy or applicable law. ABC will cooperate fully with local, state and federal officials in any investigation concerning or relating to any illegal activities conducted through ABC’s Interactive Systems. An individual search may be conducted at any time at the direction of appropriate ABC personnel. ABC intends that the nature of any such investigation will be reasonable under the circumstances. Users of ABC’s Interactive Systems should be aware that their personal files (including, but not limited to, personal e-mail messages and files maintained on their local hard drive) may be discoverable in court or agency proceedings and possibly elsewhere. General Standards for the Acceptable Use of ABC’s Interactive Systems Failure to uphold the following General Standards for the acceptable use of ABC’s Interactive Systems will constitute a violation of this Policy. These General Standards require: � Responsible behavior with respect to the electronic information environment in general and ABC’s Interactive Systems in particular at all times; � Compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and with all other applicable ABC policies; � Truthfulness and honesty in personal and computer identification; � Respect for the rights and property of others, including intellectual property rights; � Behavior consistent with the privacy and integrity of electronic networks, electronic data and information, and electronic infrastructure and systems; and � Respect for the value and intended use of human and electronic resources. Specific Rules on Acceptable Use of Interactive Systems The following specific rules apply to all uses of ABC’s Interactive Systems. These rules are not an exhaustive list of proscribed behaviors, but are intended to implement and illustrate the General Standards for the acceptable use of ABC’s Interactive Systems, other relevant ABC policies and applicable laws, rules and regulations. Additional specific rules may be adopted for the acceptable use of individual systems or networks by individual departments or system administrators. System Security � Users should immediately notify the system administrator if they have identified a possible security problem. Users should not attempt to investigate or correct a security problem. Such activity may be construed as an illegal attempt to gain access. � Users must avoid the inadvertent spread of computer viruses by following the ABC virus protection procedures if they download software from the Internet, through e-mail or otherwise. � Users should avoid giving their passwords to subscription or for-pay services (including, but not limited to, ______ and ______) to others (such as their secretaries). Confidentiality of Communications � Users should avoid transmitting or re-transmitting confidential or proprietary information by e-mail or other electronic means because of the possibility that such information could be intercepted by or inadvertently sent to someone other than its intended recipient. In general, users should not send something by e-mail or other electronic means that they would not be willing to send by telecopy or facsimile. � Whether or not the content of a particular communication is confidential, Users should avoid transmitting or re-transmitting documents or other information to or on behalf of a customer by e-mail or other electronic means without first advising that customer of the possibility that such information could be intercepted by or inadvertently sent to someone other than its intended recipient. Illegal Activities The following activities are prohibited: � Deliberately attempting to disrupt the performance of ABC’s Interactive Systems or to destroy any data on ABC’s Interactive Systems by introducing or spreading “worms” or “viruses” or by any other means. � Engaging in any other illegal act on, through or using ABC’s Interactive Systems. Amendment and Interpretation of This Policy As technology evolves, questions will arise about how to interpret the standards expressed in this Policy. ABC reserves the right to amend this Policy, in whole or in part, from time to time. Anyone having questions about this Policy or its application to a particular situation should contact the Chairman of the Technology Committee. This sample clause is intended to serve solely as an exemplar and may need to be modified to conform to the legal requirements of your jurisdiction. It in no way constitutes legal advice. Mark G. McCreary is an attorney and Tristam R. Fall III is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Fox Rothschild O’Brien & Frankel. Both are members of the firm’s Emerging Business Services Group.

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