The University has developed a protocol for the removal of websites.
The Terrorism Act 2006 created a number of new offences. Section 1 of the Act made it an offence to publish a statement which encourages acts of terrorism and Section 2 created an offence of disseminating a terrorist publication. Dissemination includes certain conduct relating to material on the Internet. Home Office guidance defines terrorist publications as “publications the content of which encourages people to engage in terrorism, or provide information that could be useful to terrorists”.
In order to comply with the legislation, the University needs to be able to remove or modify offending websites within two working days of receipt of notices which are issued under the Terrorism Act 2006. The University’s Computing Regulations state that “Users must comply with the provisions of any current UK or Scots law”. Any University-hosted website which breaches the Terrorism Act 2006 may be considered to have breached the terms and conditions under which the University provides computing services to its users.
The University’s protocol includes a step-by-step guide and a flowchart of the process, outlining who needs to be informed or involved at each stage.
In operating the protocol, the University will be mindful of the need to appropriately maintain sensitive materials which are held legitimately for learning, teaching, research and educational purposes.
Action under the protocol may involve blocking access to specific pages, an individual website, or a range of websites some of which are not covered by the Notice. The initial blocking of the website is then followed by action to narrow the focus to removal or modification of the relevant website, and to involve the respective areas. If a significant amount of the University’s website needs to be blocked temporarily by the action then a notice is put on the University’s homepage explaining that the website is experiencing difficulty.