DISTRIBUTION:    All Departments/Divisions

SUBJECT:    Use of the Internet

PURPOSE:    The City of Lawton provides access to the vast information resources of the Internet to help employees do their jobs and to be well informed. The facilities that provide access represent a considerable commitment of resources for telecommunications, networking, software, storage, etc. This Internet usage policy is designed to help employees understand the City of Lawton’s expectations for the use of those resources in the particular conditions of the Internet.

The Internet for the City of Lawton is a business tool, provided to employees at significant cost. Internet access is primarily for business-related purposes only, i.e., to communicate with customers and suppliers, to research relevant topics and obtain useful business information (except as outlined below).  Employees will conduct themselves honestly and appropriately on the Internet, respecting the copyrights, software licensing rules, property rights, privacy and prerogatives of others, as would be done in any other business dealings.

All existing City of Lawton policies apply to employee conduct on the Internet, especially (but not exclusively) those that deal with intellectual property protection, privacy, misuse of City of Lawton resources, sexual harassment, information security, data security, and confidentiality.

Unnecessary or unauthorized Internet usage causes network and server congestion. It slows other users, takes away from work time, consumes supplies, and ties up printers and other shared resources. Unlawful Internet usage may also garner negative publicity for the City of Lawton and expose the City to significant legal liabilities.

The chats, newsgroups and e-mail on the Internet give each individual Internet user an immense and unprecedented ability to propagate City of Lawton messages and to provide the public with information.  Because of that power, special care must be taken to maintain the clarity, consistency and integrity of the City of Lawton’s government image and posture. Anything any one employee writes in the course of acting for the City of Lawton on the Internet could be taken as representing the City of Lawton’s government posture. That is why employees are expected to forego a measure of individual freedom when participating in chats or newsgroups on City of Lawton time, as outlined below.

While our direct connection to the Internet offers a cornucopia of potential benefits, it can also open the door to some significant risks to City of Lawton data and systems if appropriate security disciplines are not followed.  Security is to be everyone’s first concern. City of Lawton employees can be held accountable for any breaches of security or confidentiality.



    A.    City of Lawton -  includes all of our local government offices, affiliates, subsidiaries, and branches.

    B.    Document - covers just about any kind of file that can be read on a computer screen as if it were a printed page, including the so-called HTML files read in an Internet browser, any file meant to be accessed by a word processing or desk-top publishing program or its viewer, or the files prepared for the Adobe Acrobat reader and other electronic publishing tools.

    C.    Graphics -  includes photographs, pictures, animations, movies, or drawings.  

    D.    Display -  includes monitors, flat-panel active or passive matrix displays, monochrome LCDs, projectors, televisions and virtual-reality tools.


    A.    Internet use is for official City of Lawton business only.  Any personal use of the Internet during normal business hours is strictly forbidden.  Employee use of the Internet during non-duty hours (breaks, lunch, after hours) is acceptable provided that all other provisions of this policy are followed.  Any violation of this policy may be grounds for disciplinary action.

    B.    The City of Lawton has software and systems in place that monitor and record all Internet usage.  City of Lawton security systems are capable of recording (for each and every user) each World Wide Web site visit, each chat, newsgroup or e-mail message, and each file transfer into and out of City of Lawton internal networks.  The City of Lawton reserves the right to examine and inspect these recordings at any time.  No employee should have any expectation of privacy as to his or her Internet usage.  As a condition of initial and continued employment, all employees automatically consent to the City of Lawton’s review and disclosure of Internet access records.

    C.    Our managers will review Internet activity and analyze usage patterns, and they may choose to publicize this data to assure that City of Lawton Internet resources are devoted to maintaining the highest levels of productivity.

    D.    The City of Lawton reserves the right to inspect any and all files stored in any area of it’s network, on any computer owned by the City of Lawton, on any type of storage media used in or on City of Lawton computers at any time.  No employee should have any expectation of privacy as to his or her computer usage or file storage.  As a condition of initial and continued employment, all employee automatically consent to the City of Lawton’s review and disclosure of any and all files stored on City property.  

    E.    The display of any kind of sexually explicit image or document on any City of Lawton system is a violation of our policy on sexual harassment. In addition, sexually explicit material may not be archived, stored, distributed, edited or recorded using City of Lawton network or computing resources.  The only exception to this is for legitimate law enforcement investigative activities conducted by law enforcement officials.

    F.    The City of Lawton uses independently supplied software and data to identify inappropriate or sexually explicit Internet sites. We may block access from within our networks to all such sites. If you find yourself connected incidentally to a site that contains sexually explicit or offensive material, you must disconnect from that site immediately, regardless of whether that site had been previously deemed acceptable by any screening or rating program.

    G.    The City of Lawton’s Internet facilities and computing resources must not be used to violate the laws and regulations of the United States or any other nation, or the laws and regulations of any state, city, province or other local jurisdiction in any material way.  Use of any City of Lawton resource for illegal activity is grounds for immediate dismissal.  

    H.    The City of Lawton reserves the right to disclose all employee Internet access records to law enforcement, government officials, or other third parties, without notification to or permission from the persons creating the Internet access records.   The City of Lawton will cooperate with any legitimate law enforcement investigative activity.
    I.    Any software or file(s) downloaded via the Internet into the City of Lawton network or onto a City of Lawton computer , become the property of the City of Lawton. Any such files or software may be used only in ways that are consistent with their licenses or copyrights.  No software or file will be downloaded from the Internet without first contacting the MIS Division for approval and assistance.

    J.    No employee may use City of Lawton facilities to download or distribute pirated software or data.

    K.    No employee may use the City of Lawton’s Internet facilities to propagate any virus, worm, Trojan horse, or trap-door program code.

    L.    No employee may use the City of Lawton’s Internet facilities to disable or overload any computer system or network, or to circumvent any system intended to protect the privacy or security of another user.  Each employee using the Internet facilities of the City of Lawton shall identify himself or herself honestly, accurately, and completely (including one’s City of Lawton affiliation and function where requested) when participating in chats or newsgroups, or when setting up accounts on outside computer systems.

    M.    Only those employees or officials who are authorized to speak to the media, to analysts or at public gatherings on behalf of the City of Lawton may speak/write in the name of the City of Lawton to any newsgroup or chat room. Other employees may participate in newsgroups or chats in the course of business when relevant to their duties, but they do so as individuals speaking only for themselves. Where an individual participant is identified as an employee or agent of the City of Lawton, the employee must refrain from any political advocacy and must refrain from the unauthorized endorsement or appearance of endorsement by the City of Lawton of any commercial product or service not sold or serviced by the City of Lawton, its subsidiaries or its affiliates. Only those managers and City of Lawton officials who are authorized to speak to the media, to analysts or in public gatherings on behalf of the City of Lawton may grant such authority to newsgroups or chat room participants.

    N.    The City of Lawton retains the copyright to any material posted to any forum, newsgroup, chat or World Wide Web page by any employee in the course of his or her duties.

    O.    Employees are reminded that chats and newsgroups are public forums where it is inappropriate to reveal confidential City of Lawton information, customer data, trade secrets, and any other material covered by existing City of Lawton secrecy policies and procedures. Employees releasing such confidential information via a newsgroup or chat - whether or not the release is inadvertent - will be subject to the penalties provided in existing City of Lawton policies and procedures.

    P.    Use of City of Lawton Internet access facilities to commit infractions such as misuse of City of Lawton assets or resources, sexual harassment, unauthorized public speaking and misappropriation of intellectual property are also prohibited by general City of Lawton policy and will be sanctioned under the relevant provisions of the personnel handbook.
    Q.    In the interest of keeping employees well informed, use of news briefing services such as Pointcast is acceptable, within limits that may be set by each department’s activities.  

    R.    Messaging services such as AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and any others not mentioned will not be used for personal use.  Business use is acceptable with the express permission along with installation assistance from the MIS Division.

S.    Employees with Internet access must take particular care to understand the copyright, trade-mark, libel, slander and public speech control laws of all countries in which the City of Lawton maintains a business presence, so that our use of the Internet does not inadvertently violate any laws which might be enforceable against us.

T.    Employees with Internet access, upon obtaining approval from the MIS Division, may download only software with direct business use, and must arrange to have such software properly licensed and registered.  Downloaded software must be used only under the terms of its license.

U.    Employees with Internet access may not use City of Lawton Internet facilities to download entertainment software or games, or to play games against opponents over the Internet.

V.    Employees with Internet access may not use City of Lawton Internet facilities to download images , music, or videos unless there is an express business-related use for the material.

W.    Employees with Internet access may not use the City of Lawton Internet facilities to listen to on-line radio stations unless there is an express business-related use for this type of material.

X.    Employees with Internet access may not upload any software licensed to the City of Lawton or data owned or licensed by the City of Lawton without the express authorization of the manager responsible for the software or data.

Y.    User IDs and passwords help maintain individual accountability for Internet resource usage.  Any Employee who obtains a password or ID for an Internet resource from the City of Lawton must keep that password confidential.   However, these Internet passwords and IDs will be shared with division and department supervisors upon request.

Z.    Employees should schedule communications-intensive operations such as large file transfers, video downloads, mass e-mailings and the like for off-peak times.  Files larger than 10MB (megabytes) should not be sent via e-mail but should be sent using some other medium - FTP, Zip disk, CD-R, etc..

AA.     Any file that is downloaded must be scanned for viruses before it is run or accessed.

BB.    The City of Lawton has installed an Internet firewall to assure the safety and security of the City of Lawton’s networks. Any employee who attempts to disable, defeat or circumvent any City of Lawton security facility will be subject to immediate dismissal.

CC.    Files containing sensitive City of Lawton data, as defined by existing City of Lawton data security policies, that are transferred in any way across the Internet must be encrypted.

DD.    Only those Internet services and functions with documented business purposes for this City of Lawton will be enabled at the Internet firewall.

EE.    Abuse of Internet access privileges or use in violation of law or City of Lawton policies will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.


RESCISSION:  This policy rescinds Administrative Policy 1-5 dated September 1, 2002

Larry Mitchell
City Manager
June 23, 2003

(AP 1-5, Amended, 06/23/2003, Prior Text; AP 1-5, Amended, 09/01/2002, Prior Text; AP 1=5, Amended, 11/28/2000, Prior Text; AP 1-5, Added, 08/21/1997)