USENET NEWSGROUPS - ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY (AUP)

While connected to the Internet via BT you must comply with the law.

You must not post material that you did not create, unless you have the permission of the owner of the relevant rights to that material.

You must not make statements that are defamatory to or misrepresent others. Defamatory postings may include but are not limited to postings which harm the personal or business reputation of another or exposes him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or lowers him in the estimation of his community, or deters other people from associating or dealing with him.

You must not post the same message repeatedly in one or more newsgroups.

You must not post chain letters or pyramid schemes messages or any other similar messages.

You must not blatantly disregard the intended subject matter in a newsgroup by making off topic postings with apparent malicious intent or in large volumes.

You must not maliciously try to incite other newsgroup users to deviate from the stated topic of the group. Attempts to anger others and to draw them into off topic debates are known as “trolling”.

You must not send data via the Internet which has forged addresses nor should you attempt to
impersonate any other individual or organisation.

You must not breach the charter of the newsgroup that you are in.

You should not post binary attachments such as images or files into newsgroup not designed for that purpose.

You should not post commercial advertisements to newsgroups. Most groups do not welcome contributions from business or commercial websites; even private promotional postings may be frowned upon.

SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR COMPUTER

The Usenet Newsgroups service provided by BT is an easy method of communicating with large numbers of individuals. It is also a facility which can offer endless sources of information. Just about every topic one can think of is covered in one newsgroup or other and participating successfully in the various newsgroups is mostly a matter of common sense and extending courtesy to other participants. Unfortunately, it is also a source of abuse over the Internet. Posting into newsgroups may reach your desired audience, but it is not limited to that audience. Although the majority of newsgroup subscribers are helpful and courteous, some hide behind their anonymity and take great pleasure in replying to the often-innocent postings of a "newbie" (someone who is new to the Internet), with abusive or offensive language.

As with the rest of the Internet, newsgroups are subject to netiquette these are the conventions of Internet etiquette particularly associated with the use Newsgroups and their users. There are many resources on the Internet that list these rules, which can be found by searching for the term “netiquette” with a search engine.

Newsgroups are un-moderated and BT provides feeds to a number of them. However many of them are subject to their own charters, and these charters are posted into the Newsgroups on a regular basis. (Click here for a sample charter). Newsgroups are outside of BT's control and BT has no say in the type of material that can and cannot be posted to them.

BT aims to filter out access via the BT feed to Newsgroups that BT perceives by their titles to have illegal content. However, BT does not monitor the content contained in any of the Newsgroups and is not responsible for the content of any Newsgroup. In the interest of the safety of children, if you identify a Newsgroup with illegal content, you can notify us in order that we can consider adding it to our list of barred groups.

Newsgroups are often used for the sharing of files, typically images, software, videos and documents. It is important that you are aware that Newsgroups can be used to post or download unauthorised or even illegal material. BT, like any service provider is obliged to disclose information in relation to our customers using the service when a lawful instruction, such as a court order is served upon us.

We recommend that you take some simple steps to minimise the likelihood of receiving abuse through participation in a newsgroup:

Do not give out your email address unless you are absolutely sure you can trust the recipient. You should treat your email address as you would treat your telephone number.

When posting into newsgroup configure your newsreader so that it doesn't show your email address or disguises it i.e. joe.bloggs32@nospam.isp.com. In the posting you would say "to reply to Joe, remove the nospam". The respondents would then need to remove the nospam section of the email address. This makes it more difficult for automated newsgroup trawlers to strip email addresses from the postings for the purposes of sending spam.

Avoid posting into Newsgroup if you are not entirely sure about the nature of their subject matter. If you are going to post into these groups, be aware that there is very little BT, as your Internet Service Provider (ISP), can do to protect you if you become a victim of abusive emails resulting from your posting or a "flame war". If you do post into a Newsgroup that you are not entirely sure about, it is a sensible precaution to keep your email address private.

Be mindful of what you post. What may seem amusing to you may very well be offensive to another participant in a Newsgroup.

Try not to cross-post .i.e. posting the same article to a number of groups.

If you do become a victim of Newsgroup abuse we recommend that you:

  1. Block further communications from a particular sender. Within your newsreader software you will have the option to block the receipt of further messages from any particular sender; this is known in newsgroups as a “kill file”.
  2. Send an email to the "abuse department" of the sender’s ISP (i.e. abuse@ the ISP) attaching the abusive communication and all of it’s’ header (the full addressing) information.
  3. It is unlikely that an ISP will simply give out the name and details of an alleged offender. However, an ISP may need to divulge such information to appropriate authorities, such as the police or the courts, if formally requested to do so. We cannot address incidents of spam or other abuse unless it was posted through a BT Internet connection.