What are the legal implications of hosting or offering blogs and wikis? (30 November 2011)

Data protection and other legal issues remain the same for a college or university when hosting, offering or using blogs, wikis, and any other social networking tool.  The greater dissemination of information (which may be in breach of data protection, or defamatory, or illegal due to obscenity or copyright infringement) poses a greater risk of discovery and damage.

It is up to universities and colleges to manage the risk as they have to do with other means of communication.  All relevant policies, such as the IT acceptable use policy and the disciplinary policy, should be updated to include these 'new' media.  In addition, institutions need to note that their Equality Act duties in relation to disability discrimination need to be taken into account in the use of these social media tools.

JISC Legal have a number of resources to assist colleges and universities with the legal issues in relation to Web 2.0, available at http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/Themes/Web20.aspx.  Also useful are the Out-Law.com resources provided by Pinsent Masons on "Legal risks of corporate blogging and user-generated content" available at http://www.out-law.com/page-7839, and "Moderation, liability and terms of use", available at http://www.out-law.com/page-7841.


Posted on 30/11/2011

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