Several weeks ago I asked for policies regarding the use of email policies
developed by hospitals.  I received only 2 responses.  Excerpts from these
responses are given below.

We provide a dedicated Internet workstation for users with
or without personal access to the Internet.  The public
workstation provides full access to the Internet, with the
exception of no-email.  anyone wishing to use email capability
must sign up for an individual internet account and then telnet into
their account to access their email. 

This is an excerpt from the Menninger Clinic's policy on the use of
information resources.

Electronic Mail 

Electronic mail systems owned or leased by Menninger are strategic and vital
which, by law, are to be used only for official company purposes.  This
asset requires a high degree of protection to ensure that it is only
utilized for appropriate and legal means. 

The key federal law in this area is the Electronics Communications Privacy
Act of 1986 (18 United States Code Sections 2510-2521 and 2701-2708).
However, this law extends protection to messages sent over public telephone
lines, national e-mail, and on-line systems (CompuServe, America Online,
etc.).  This law does not extend protection to private, employer-owned
electronic mail systems. 

        •     Legal Concerns 

This policy is intended to provide the computer user with guidelines for use
of internal and external electronic mail usage, to protect both the employee
and Menninger from legal liability.  Potential areas of legal liability include:
·             Protection of  confidential information
·     Organization and individual privacy issues
·     Illegal subject matter
Given the  open” nature of electronic mail systems, it is impossible to
describe in detail all issues that surround electronic mail usage.  The
electronic mail user must consider the following when utilizing electronic mail:

·     Illusion of Privacy - Since neither the receiver nor the sender can see
each other or tangible evidence of the message, there is an implicit
assumption that the medium is secure and private; however, this is not the
case.  Electronic mail ultimately reside as electronic messages stored in
various disk drives and servers throughout the organization and, as a
result, is not completely secure.
·     Loss of Control - Once the originator sends the message on its way, all
control of distribution is lost forever.  Each receiver along the way can
re-direct the message to an audience not intended by the originator.  Each
of those receivers can, in turn, send that message along.
·     Misdirection - The ease with which an e-mail message can be sent is well
recognized.  Simple typographic errors or accidentally selecting the wrong
recipient can send a message to an unwanted party.

        •     Appropriate Subject Matter

All electronic mail falls within one of three categories; Appropriate,
Inappropriate, and Illegal.   It is Menninger’s policy that electronic mail
user’s will ensure that only appropriate subject matter is contained within
an electronic message.

·     Appropriate subject matter relates to legitimate business purposes and
operation.  Correspondence, exchange of information and ideas, purchase
orders, status inquiries, and personnel data are all appropriate.  Some of
this material offers a higher risk because of its value or sensitivity.  In
addition, some data, like personnel data, is sensitive and, while not
valuable in dollars and cents, still must be given a higher level of
protection than more routine information. 
·     Inappropriate subject matter does not pertain to the organization’s
legitimate operation.  Topics here include personal correspondence between
individuals (or organizations), profanity, anonymous opinions and
descriptions of the organization and its employees, and personal business
items.  Profanity and sex-oriented topics are among the most common. 
·     Illegal subject matter includes:  sexual harassment; racial comments and
views; age and other forms of discrimination; and libel or slanderous comments.

Elaine Brekke, Librarian
East Tennessee Children's Hospital
PO 15110
Knoxville, TN 37901-1510
FAX  423/541-8556
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