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Electronic Resources Principle

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Principle Statement:

3M employees and third parties to which this Principle applies must use 3M’s electronic resources lawfully and in a manner that complies with 3M’s Code of Conduct and 3M’s Information Security, Trade Secrets, and Confidential Information Principle.

3M employees and third parties to which this Principle applies must protect 3M electronic resources from unauthorized uses and security threats, and must not use 3M’s electronic resources for outside business ventures or personal financial gain. Personal use of electronic resources must be reasonable and limited and may not interfere with 3M’s normal business activities or an employee’s ability to meet job expectations.

3M reserves the right to monitor or access employee or third party communications or other materials created, received, stored, transmitted or processed using 3M’s electronic resources, at any time and without notice, where there is a business reason to do so and as permitted by law. For this reason, users of 3M’s electronic resources should not have an expectation of privacy in e-mails, documents, files, voice files or other communications or materials created, received, stored, transmitted or processed using 3M electronic resources, unless required by law.


3M’s electronic resources provide many tools through which information can be shared around the globe. The efficient use of electronic resources contributes to 3M’s success. To safeguard and protect 3M’s property and resources, 3M’s electronic resources must used lawfully and in a manner that complies with 3M’s policies and procedures.

This Principle applies globally to all employees and may apply to those acting on behalf of 3M. See the Compliance Principle for information on when a third party might be covered by the Code of Conduct Principles.

Additional Guidance:

  • The term “3M electronic resources” means all electronic devices, software, systems and networks, directly or through a third party, used to transmit, receive, process or store 3M information or data. 3M’s electronic resources are for 3M business. These resources include, but are not limited to, computers, mobile phones, servers, databases, wireless devices, tablets, e-mail systems, voice messaging systems, remote access tools and Internet connectivity. It also includes the use of non-3M-owned electronic resources that store or connect to 3M data. This Principle applies whenever and wherever 3M electronic resources are accessed and used.
  • Use 3M electronic resources in accordance with 3M policies and applicable laws, including 3M policies and laws regarding information security, Confidential Information, Regulated Information, privacy, harassment, political activities, software implementation and record retention.
  • Never use electronic resources in a manner inconsistent with a respectful business environment or which violates 3M’s Respectful Workplace Principle, for example, by sending offensive or harassing messages or downloading or viewing sexually explicit or other offensive material.
  • Take appropriate measures to protect the security, confidentiality and integrity of 3M electronic data and information, as required under 3M policies and applicable laws. For example:
    • Protect User IDs and passwords for 3M electronic resources and ensure their proper use. User IDs and passwords are confidential information. Never post them near the computer; record IDs/passwords in a secure manner.
    • Ensure that workstations and mobile devices connecting to 3M networks meet corporate standards. Do not uninstall or disable 3M-provided security solutions, such as anti-virus tools, firewalls or password-protected screensavers.
    • Lock workstations when left unattended.
    • When using 3M’s electronic resources in public places, protect 3M confidential information, for example, by using a privacy screen and being aware of surroundings.
    • Use only properly licensed copies of computer software. Do not copy or use software licensed to 3M unless 3M’s license from the software publisher permits the copying or use.
    • Do not download, copy, or use software or other materials in violation of copyright laws or license restrictions.
  • 3M allows reasonable and limited personal use of 3M electronic resources by employees and other users. Any personal use must be occasional and brief, must not unduly burden 3M’s resources and systems, must comply with all laws and 3M policies, and must not interfere with normal business activities or the employee’s ability to meet job expectations.
  • Employee personal use of 3M electronic resources for outside business ventures, personal financial gain is prohibited.
  • Except as permitted by the 3M Political Activities Principle, use of 3M electronic resources for political purposes is prohibited.
  • Never use the 3M email system to send personal photos or other large non-business files that can negatively impact 3M network operations.
  • Employees reporting possible information security incidents or violations of this Principle should report the incident to the IT Helpline,, their assigned legal counsel, or any of the resources listed in the Employee Obligations and Reporting Principle.


A variety of laws and regulations apply to the use of 3M electronic resources, including, but not limited to, software licensing, systems security, business use of the Internet (including laws relating to unsolicited commercial e-mail), data privacy, deceptive advertising, harassment, and unfair competition laws. Failure to comply with these laws could lead to criminal and civil penalties for 3M and for employees personally, significant business disruptions, and harm to 3M’s reputation. Violations of 3M’s Code of Conduct will result in discipline, up to and including termination from employment.