This policy recognizes that it may be necessary to include links on the Office of the Governor website to websites outside the Office of the Governor's control. The purpose of this policy is to clearly state that the Office of the Governor website is not a public forum for communication and debate. Links to external websites from the Office of the Governor pages are established and retained at the discretion of the Office of the Governor. The policy also provides guidelines on when links to external sources are inappropriate.
The Purpose of the Office of the Governor website is to promote public service to citizens and businesses by:
- Expanding business and citizen access to government services and government information;
- Offering an easy and convenient process to conduct online transactions with State government;
- Accelerating the delivery of quality online government services;
- Improving the level of customer service from State government; and
- Extending online government services to all citizens in Washington State.
"Office of the Governor website" shall mean the Internet portal operated and maintained by the Office of the Governor. The Office of the Governor is not a forum for public communication and debate. The criteria outlined in this Policy have been established to ensure that the Office of the Governor website remains a non-public forum.
"Office of the Governor Internet Properties", "Office of the Governor Web pages" and "Web pages operated by the Office of the Governor" shall mean Web pages whose content is under the direction and control of the Office of the Governor, including the Office of the Governor Public website, and other Office of the Governor websites. (These terms do not include intranet sites controlled or operated by the Office of the Governor.)
"Purpose" shall mean the stated purpose of the Office of the Governor website in this policy.
"External website" shall mean all websites other than the Office of the Governor website.
This policy applies to the Office of the Governor website and other Office of the Governor Internet properties. Links to the following types of Web pages may be included in the Office of the Governor website:
- Other Governmental Units & Educational Institutions - Office of the Governor may provide links to other federal, state, and local governmental units that provide additional services and information that the Office of the Governor website users may find of interest.
- Private Organizations - Office of the Governor may provide links to private organizations if these organizations offer services that complement the Purpose, information and services offered by the Office of the Governor and if the links meet the Acceptance Criteria stated in this policy.
Office of the Governor may provide links to websites that are not controlled, maintained, or regulated by the Office of the Governor, and as such the Office of the Governor is not responsible for the content of those websites.
Use of information obtained from External websites is voluntary. Any information obtained from an External website is not guaranteed by the Office of the Governor and the user should review the accuracy of any information before relying upon it. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, or otherwise does not represent endorsement or recommendation by the Office of the Governor.
1.4 Guidelines for establishing a link from the agency's website to an external website
Using the following Acceptance Criteria, the Office of the Governor will review every link and decide whether it is appropriate and relevant:
- The External website corresponds with the Purpose of the Office of the Governor.
- The External website is appropriate with respect to the Purpose of the Office of the Governor. An inappropriate website may include, but is not limited to:
- A commercial website which charges a fee for products or services online;
- A website that exhibits hate, bias, discrimination, pornography, libelous or otherwise defamatory content;
- A website that advocates or promotes the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs;
- A website that lobbies, advocates, or advances the policies and priorities of a particular industry, organization or enterprise. This includes sites of non-profit organizations;
- A website that belongs to or supports a political affiliation;
- A website that furthers the agenda of a political organization or candidate running for office;
- A website that promotes or makes available adult or sexually oriented entertainment or materials;
- A website that promotes, opposes, or makes available weapons or gambling.
Additionally, the Office of the Governor reserves the right to deny links if it determines that a website contains misleading or unsubstantiated claims, conflicts with the Purpose of the Office of the Governor or does not meet one or more of the criteria set forth in this policy.
1.5 Guidelines for establishing a link to the Office of the Governor website From an external website
Advance permission to link to the Office of the Governor website is not necessary; however, website users should be aware that the Office of the Governor website sub pages, including the pages of other state agencies and local governments, may change at any time without notice. Anyone linking to the Office of the Governor website should continuously verify links to sub pages.
Anyone linking to the Office of the Governor website shall not display the Office of the Governor Web pages within frames, present the Office of the Governor content as its own, or otherwise misrepresent the Office of the Governor content, and they should not misinform users about the origin or ownership of the Office of the Governor content. Certain information on the Office of the Governor may be trademarked, service-marked, or otherwise protected as intellectual property. Protected intellectual property must be used in accordance with state and federal laws and must reflect the proper ownership of the intellectual property.
1.6 Link oversight and monitoring
Office of the Governor shall establish procedures to monitor the implementation and continuing oversight of this policy.
These procedures shall include:
- A process to review all new requests for links from a Office of the Governor Web page to another Web page to ensure compliance with this policy prior to granting the request; and
- A quarterly review of not less than seven (7) percent or a quantity of thirty-five (35) of the then current external content links for each Office of the Governor Internet Property, whichever is less, to ensure that such links still comply with this policy.
1.7 Removal of content
Office of the Governor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove links if it determines that an External website contains misleading or unsubstantiated claims, conflicts with the Purpose of the Office of the Governor, or does not meet one or more of the criteria set forth herein.
Links from the Office of the Governor website will be reviewed regularly and may be removed for any of the following reasons:
- The link no longer points to the original information or resource to which it was intended to point;
- The website contains inaccurate or misleading information or has changed such that it is no longer in compliance with the acceptance criteria;
- Access to the information has become difficult due to non-standard formatting, lengthy download times, or intrusive advertising;
- The website is permanently unreachable or remains unavailable for a lengthy period.
Removal of external links on the above bases will be permitted whether or not the Office of the Governor is legally obligated to act upon any information of which it is aware.