ESnet Acceptable Use Policy

The purpose of this document is to define the acceptable use policy for the US Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). This policy is subordinate to all applicable U.S. government laws, as well as Department of Energy (DOE) orders.


ESnet is an international Wide Area Network (WAN) facility, optimized for large-scale scientific collaboration and funded to support the mission of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Although ESnet provides connectivity to the commercial Internet for DOE researchers, it is not a general-purpose network infrastructure.

The acceptable use policies defined below are intended to protect ESnet, its users, and DOE facilities from improper and/or illegal activity.  For the purposes of this document, an ESnet ‘user’ is a person who causes data to be transmitted over ESnet infrastructure – for instance by browsing the web, transferring data sets, or initiating email.  Users of ESnet are expected to behave reasonably and to adhere to commonly accepted practices of the broader Internet community.  

If an ESnet user violates policies defined below, or otherwise engages in illegal or improper activity on the network, ESnet reserves the right to suspend and/or terminate network access.

ESnet was established to support Office of Science missions. The Office of Science works with other DOE and governmental programs, as appropriate, to broaden access to ESnet services according to the following policies that user communities commit to adhere to. ESnet traffic may be monitored to ensure adherence to acceptable use policies.

Acceptable Uses

As a general rule, network traffic generated in the service of DOE missions complies with ESnet’s acceptable use policy.  For instance, mission-related communication between DOE-funded investigators and their collaborators, regardless of location, falls within ESnet’s AUP. 

Further examples of appropriate use include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Access to scientific facilities for the purpose of conducting DOE-funded or approved research, or for obtaining data sets intended for public dissemination.
  • Exchange of data between universities, for the purpose of supporting DOE-funded scientific collaborations.
  • Communications between DOE contractors and their subcontractors for the purpose of conducting business in support of DOE programs.
  • Any usage conducted under an agreement between DOE/Office of Science and other network providers, agencies, or entities.

Unacceptable Uses

As a general rule, network traffic which is generated outside of the service of DOE missions, or outside the scope of lawful and incidental use of the network, is disallowed.  Examples of activities which fall outside the scope of acceptable use include the following:

  • Use of ESnet for personal gain, advertising, lobbying, or unlawful activities.
  • Use of ESnet in violation of copyright, patent, or trademark laws.
  • Use of ESnet to obtain unlawful access to computational, information, or communications devices or resources.
  • Use of ESnet to introduce or release malicious code.
  • Use of ESnet to intercept, redirect, or otherwise interfere with communications intended for others.
  • Use of ESnet to carry 'transit' traffic unrelated to DOE missions, unless such traffic is explicitly permitted by ESnet (for example, in connection with mutual fail-over agreements with other research networks for the purpose of increasing resiliency of transatlantic telecommunications).

Enforcement and Violations

By using ESnet you are accepting:

  1. The guidelines of appropriate use in this policy;
  2. Responsibility for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of the data you send/receive through ESnet; and
  3. The ESnet Data Privacy Policy.

The DOE Office of Science will review alleged violations of the ESnet Acceptable Use Policy on a case-by-case basis. Clear violations of the policy which are not promptly remedied by the offending member organization may result in loss of network access. Depending on the nature of the violation, action may also include referral of a case to appropriate authorities for civil or criminal prosecution.


ESnet management, in coordination with the Office of Science, reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.


Questions about this ESnet Acceptable Use Policy should be addressed to:
ESnet AUP 
Attn: ASCR Facilities Division Director, SC-21  
U.S. Department of Energy (HQ) 
1000 Independence Avenue 
Washington DC, SW 20865-1615