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Terms of use for websites

Government organisations are encouraged to provide terms of use on interactive websites and those that require authenticated access. Organisations are encouraged to consult their legal teams when developing such terms of use.

Linking to terms of use

A link to the terms of use should be available from an obvious location, such as the website's home page and, if applicable, the page on which users are asked to register an account to access the site or its services.

Interactive websites

An interactive website is one that enables users to contribute content which may be published on the website. Examples of interactive websites are blogs, wikis, online forums, social networking sites, photo-sharing sites and video-sharing sites.

Depending on the nature of the website, terms of use may need to deal with some or all of the following:

  • registration and credential obligations if there is registration and authentication of users (see more below)
  • warranties that site users contributing third-party copyright content have the right to use such material
  • indemnities in favour of the organisation to protect it against loss if such warranties are breached (note that consideration should be given to whether including such an indemnity is appropriate by reference to the likely audience of the website and the potentially adverse message it could send to users of government services)
  • ownership or licensing of users’ contributions
  • unacceptable use and the website owner’s right to remove offending material
  • moderation of user-generated content
  • how the site owner deals with instances of repeat copyright infringement by users
  • banning of abusive commenters
  • co-operation with authorities in the event that material breaching other parties’ rights, or that is otherwise unlawful, is posted to the site
  • to the extent that State Services staff may contribute content to the site, a reminder of, or a term requiring compliance with, the Standards of Integrity and Conduct
  • if the website will allow users to sign up to email notifications and if such notifications may include commercial messages (which may or may not appear on the site itself), a term dealing with such a prospect (drawn to users’ attention at the time of their subscribing for email)
  • the right to amend the terms of use.


Terms of use for

Websites requiring authenticated access

The terms of use for a government website that requires authenticated access should contain terms dealing with the following:

  • protection of the customer’s computing environment
  • any lifecycle requirements for the authentication key (such as a password or token)
  • user responsibilities
  • processes and procedures relating to compromise or suspected compromise of the authentication key
  • the website owner's responsibilities to its online service customers.

Authentication standards

Utility links and page information

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