More ways to make your intranet legal

When I asked a few weeks ago is your intranet breaking the law Janus Boye wanted me to cover other legal responsibilities we have.  After a quick panic attack I recovered what poise I have and realised there are other areas where intranet managers, publishers and designers need to make sure their intranet is legal.

So here are key points you need to consider.  I suggest you go to the Outlaw site for more details on legal information.

1. Information retention

We need to make sure we only retain the information needed by law and for the sound running of our organisation.  But you need to consider whether you retain old copies of content.  I know of someone who needed to show a copy of a web page as it was at the time of the incident to prove what guidance was actually being given to people.

2. Legal and regulatory frameworks

Like BT’s undertakings with Ofcom, you may need to meet regulatory requirements.  This means there is often a need for some ‘knowledge firewalls’ to safeguard insider information in all sorts of industries such as the pharmaceutical, legal and banking industries.  Incidentally the term ‘chinese wall’ is to be avoided according to Wikipedia.

3. Confidentiality

This isn’t just personal.  It could be commercial confidentiality too. If someone creates a page about issues with a piece of software how would they be affected?

4. Freedom of information (FoI)

This can be a big concern with intranet content.  Anything published on your intranet may be subject to a FoI challenge.  It could makes you less likely to share some details.  This is probably likely to affect public service intranets most. 

5.  Data protection

Data Protection, particularly Personal Data and European Union rules for its use and storage, may affect your intranet systems, particularly HR systems.

6. Copyright

Copying any content, especially an image, photo or multi-media file, from another website to insert on an intranet site is an infringement of copyright, unless you have permission from the copyright owner.  To avoid any copyright problems restrict your uploading to content which you have created; colleagues, friends or relatives have created and given you permission to use; is provided by an official agency.

8 responses to “More ways to make your intranet legal

  1. “To avoid any copyright problems restrict your uploading to content which you have created; colleagues, friends or relatives have created and given you permission to use; is provided by an official agency.”

    Mark. what’s your view on stuff licenced under Creative Commons – I’m a keen user of http://compfight.com

  2. Steve,

    I would check what the copyright position is for any image on this site. I looked but couldn’t find any information or disclaimer. If in doubt I would not use.

    BT has a library of images where copyright is not an issue. either it isn’t needed or BT has permission.

    Mark

  3. “But you need to consider whether you retain old copies of content.”

    Mark, is there a legal obligation to do this? Also, is there a legal obligation to retain meta data such as page creation and modification dates?

    • Frazer,

      I’m not aware of any legal obligation to retain meta data. This is more a matter for ease of retrieving any content by an organisation.

      BT has an information policy that means most content is not retained for more than 2 years but key documents are kept for 7 years and I’m sure in the case of when BT was formed the document is needed for perpetuity.

      How much this is based on good business practice and/or a legal requirement I haven’t been able to get to the bottom of.

      Does anyone reading this know please?

      Mark

  4. Pingback: The benefit you gain from intranet standards « Mark Morrell

  5. Pingback: How to get quality content « Mark Morrell

  6. “This can be a big concern with intranet content. Anything published on your intranet may be subject to a FoI challenge. It could makes you less likely to share some details. This is probably likely to affect public service intranets most.”
    S related question:

    If, on a user-generated content area of the intranet, an employee writes something that isn’t true, for example exagerating education level or level of past work experience — is the employer liable for this information? Especially if the employer is a public body?

    Thanks for an informative blogg!

  7. Tracy,

    Gosh, what a good question! I’m no expert and this gets in to a grey area.

    My view is if the person is saying something about themseleves that isn’t true then it is the individual who is responsible for justifying or changing the content.

    If the person says something about a work related matter then it will depend on the social media guidelines the organisation has as to who is liable for what. It could mean employer as well as employee as would apply to any verbal or written communication saying the same thing.

    Is any one able to confirm or correct my view please?

    Mark

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s