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Guidelines for Staff on Use of IT Facilities including Email and the Internet

Responsible Officer Chief Information Officer
Last Updated November 2016
Date of Review November 2018
Audience/Application Staff
Related Documents

1.    Terms of Use


These guidelines are issued by the Chief Information Officer under the authority of Council and provide clarification on the practical application of the University's Policy on Acceptable Use of IT Facilities.  These Guidelines apply to Staff and Postgraduate research degree students.

Staff use of University IT facilities including email and the internet is conditional upon compliance with all University policies, procedures and guidelines, including the Sexual Harassment (C-12) and Equal Opportunity (C-2) as well as with State and Commonwealth law.


2.    Staff Conduct


2.1    Staff must:

Identity & Representation

Security of Facilities

Personal Use of University IT Facilities


Email Bulletins & Notices


2.2    Staff must not:

Personal Profit


Identity & Representation

Security of Facilities

Personal Use


3.    Relevant Legislation


3.1    Copyright

Copyright law restricts the copying of software and other material subject to copyright (documents, emails, music, broadcasts, videos etc.) except with the express permission of the copyright owner. (The copyright of an email is owned by the sender, or the sender's employer.)

Refer to the Copyright at UniSA webpage.

Email & Copyright

The copyright of an email message is owned by the sender, or the sender's employer.  Copyright owners have a variety of rights, including the right to reproduce their work and the right of communication to the public.  Forwarding something to an email discussion list would be construed as 'to the public'.

Consider the expectations of the originator:


3.2    Privacy

A member of staff may expect some privacy in relation tot their use of the computer and email and internet resources the University makes available to them at work.  Despite the use of individual passwords, privacy is limited in the following ways:

Privacy Legislation

Besides technological limitations on privacy, there are other factors that can impinge on privacy.  The Office of the Privacy Commissioner provides information on the privacy legislation and how it applies to use of IT by employees.  It shows that there are exemptions to the Privacy Principles and an employer's logging of staff activities (email and internet) is not contrary to the legislation as long as it is done lawfully and fairly.

To ensure fairness, the University has provided these Guidelines to inform staff about its practice of monitoring and accessing records relating tho the use of University IT facilities, including computers, email and the internet.

For information on how the University protects the privacy of information it holds in relation to its students, see the Policy on Confidentiality of Student Information (A-46).

The University also informs members of the public about how the University monitors their use of the University web site.

Refer to the Privacy webpage.


3.3    Freedom of Information

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act of South Australia, a document is defined as "anything in which information is stored or from which information may be reproduced".  Email messages created in the course of fulfilling duties relating to employment are official records covered by the State Records Act (1997) and the Freedom of Information Act (1991) and are subject to the same requirements as hard copy records. 

The content of these emails remains the property of the University and may be subject to release in accordance with the FOI Act.

For further information or advice, contact the Records and Copyright Officer or refer to the Freedom of Information webpage.


3.4    Spam Act 2003

All email messages sent from a University email account must comply with the Spam Act 2003.  This Act dictates the regulation of commercial e-mail and other types of commercial electronic messages.

The Spam Act makes allowance for the University, which is classified as an "educational institution", to send messages to current or previously enrolled students about its goods or services.  Therefore an unsubscribe facility is not required in these cases.

Other electronic messaging, including emails, instant messaging, SMS and other mobile phone messaging may be identified as spam if it does not fall into this category.


4.    Alleged Misuse

Where an alleged misuse has been reported, the Chief Information Officer (or nominee) may:

If an investigation of alleged misuse requires a staff members use of IT facilities to be examined or monitored they will not necessarily be notified.

Allegations that constitute misconduct or breaches of the law will be referred to the appropriate authority for investigation.  The University will give that authority all reasonable assistance requested, including disclosing:

When misuse is observed:


4.1    Monitoring

Routine monitoring of the use of IT facilities is conducted to monitor the costs and acceptable use of University resources will take place.

In normal circumstances, University and third party staff supporting IT services will not monitor the contents of electronic mail messages or other communications or files they access as a result of their work (e.g. auditing operations).  However, the University and third party staff supporting IT services will inspect, copy, store and disclose the contents of email when appropriate to prevent or correct improper use, satisfy a legal obligation, or to ensure proper operation of IT facilities.


Appendix A: Additional Information

To help staff use IT resources responsibly, the following information is provided:

Mailbox Management

When a Staff Member Leaves

Use of Shared Mailboxes

Use of Email Signatures

Restoration of email

Inadvertent Use

All staff and student notices

To reduce the amount of unwanted and unsolicited email received by staff, approval of the intended message must be obtained from a manager who has approval to send to these lists. The following approvals are required:

All staff:

  •  Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor
  •  Senior Management Group
  •  Heads of Schools
  •  Directors
  •  Select staff

All General Staff:

  • Executive Officer to the Vice Chancellor
  • Senior Management Group
  • Heads of Schools
  • Directors
  • Select staff

All Academic Staff:

  •  Executive Officer to the Vice Chancellor
  •  Senior Management Group
  •  Heads of Schools
  •  Directors
  • Select staff

All students:

  •  Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor
  • Director, Student and Academic Services