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Terms of Service

ECIP Connect – The USCG's Enterprise Common Ideation Platform

Terms of Use

Last Updated: December 29, 2014

The following Terms of Use (TOU) govern the use of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Enterprise Common Innovation Platform (ECIP) referred to as "ECIP Connect". They are not exhaustive or inclusive, and USCG reserves the right to modify them at any time. The TOU include any laws, regulations, or policies incorporated by reference (e.g., the USCG Security and Information Assurance (SIA) Manual, COMDTINST M5500.13 (series)) as well as the requirements of a user's position. Changes to the TOU are effective immediately upon posting. By using ECIP Connect, users agree to all of the TOU. Failure to fully comply with the TOU or any related laws, rules, regulations, policies, or Instructions may result in criminal prosecution and administrative action, including discipline, up to and including an employee's discharge or removal.

Using this site constitutes knowledge, understanding, agreement, and willingness to adhere to the TOU.

Purpose of ECIP Connect

ECIP Connect is a web-based tool designed to enable innovation and organizational collaboration within the agency on a voluntary basis. This should be accomplished through a user's submission of an idea that can iterate and evolve into a potential solution to the specific challenge(s) presented. ECIP Connect is a special forum based on promising crowd-sourcing methods whereby the submission of ideas dedicated toward improving the Coast Guard addresses the challenges provided for the workforce to collaborate on. It is not an open-forum for general complaints or opinions about the Coast Guard or its individual employees. Nor is it a forum for advocacy of third party organizations or groups.

General Conditions for Use of ECIP Connect

ECIP Connect is a U.S. Government (USG) Information System (IS) that is provided for USG authorized use only. By using ECIP Connect (which includes any device attached to it through any means), users consent to the following conditions:

  • All persons are hereby notified that use of this system constitutes consent to monitoring and auditing by USG.
  • The USG routinely intercepts and monitors communications on ECIP Connect for purposes including, but not limited to, penetration testing, Communications Security (COMSEC) monitoring, network operations and defense, personnel misconduct (PM), law enforcement (LE), and counterintelligence (CI) investigations.
  • At any time, the USG may inspect and seize data stored on ECIP Connect.
  • Communications using, or data stored on ECIP Connect are not private, are subject to routine monitoring, interception, and search, and may be disclosed or used for any USG-authorized purpose.
  • As ECIP Connect is moderated by USCG Innovation Council members and other USG personnel, users have no expectation of privacy in content and communications transmitted via ECIP Connect. ECIP Connect should not be used to transmit information that would, under other circumstances, be privileged communications, or work product, related to personal representation or services by attorneys, psychotherapists, or clergy, and their assistants.
  • ECIP Connect includes security measures (e.g., authentication and access controls) to protect USG interests--not for the personal benefit or privacy of its users.
  • Unauthorized attempts to upload information and/or change information on ECIP Connect are strictly prohibited and are subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and 18 U.S.C. §§1001 and 1030.

Users must understand the use of ECIP Connect is subject to all existing Coast Guard information systems and civil rights policies. While remaining relevant and respectful, lively discussion, debate, and even disagreement is encouraged within this site to foster healthy collaboration and allow the most promising solutions to organizational challenges to be vetted. Postings must remain appropriate and professional at all times. Employees are reminded that their conduct at work directly affects the proper and effective accomplishment of their official duties and responsibilities. Employees must perform their duties in a professional and businesslike manner throughout the workday. While on or off-duty, employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not adversely reflect on the Coast Guard or negatively affect its ability to discharge its mission, cause embarrassment to the agency, or cause the public and/or USCG to question the employee's reliability, judgment, or trustworthiness. The posting of any unprofessional, false, misleading, profane, or defamatory material will not be tolerated, and such material will be removed from this web site. Complaints and/or posts that include threatening, harassing or confrontational content; a suspected or actual breach of information security; or involve other similarly serious matters will be reported to appropriate authorities for action. These conditions, and all following TOU, apply to all posts on ECIP Connect.

Employees are accountable for the statements they make and the views they express. An employee's public criticism of USCG, its management or employees on matters of public concern (defined as a matter of political, social, or other concern to the community) may be constitutionally protected. However, this protection may be limited to the extent that the speech in question disrupts the orderly conduct of official business, concerns protected information, or where such statements adversely affect the efficiency of the service or this program. For example, defamatory, irresponsible, false or disparaging statements about employees may disrupt the orderly conduct of official business and/or adversely affect the efficiency of the service.

Identification of Participants

Use of ECIP Connect is limited to individuals who are authorized users. Use may take place via the USCG intranet through networked USCG computers, personal computers using the USCG Virtual Private Network (VPN), or compatible and approved mobile devices. Contractors shall not use ECIP during time charged to the government unless doing so would be within the scope of their contract. All comments will be identifiable by the individual's name or username. Employees who use ECIP Connect must log on using their own, USCG-assigned username. A user may not post content for other users. Posting content using group user IDs is also prohibited.

Safeguarding Information

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, USCG employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. If such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to appropriate law enforcement officials. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on this server are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act or other law.

ECIP Connect is held to the same standards and policies that govern a Coast Guard information system. Requests for information contained within ECIP Connect should be forwarded to the ECIP Connect moderator for evaluation pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552, as amended) and Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552a). Employees and other authorized users shall ensure the proper handling of ECIP Connect information and shall neither (a) publicize, distribute, or otherwise provide any comments or posts found on ECIP Connect to any person who has not been granted access to ECIP Connect, nor (b) post any information that could disclose the content of For Official Use Only (FOUO) or Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) information unless specifically authorized to do so.

Exchange of Sensitive Security Information (SSI)

USCG employees must safeguard and handle appropriately all SSI and other SBU to prevent unauthorized disclosure to persons not having a need to know the information in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations directives and policies.

Time Management

Use of ECIP Connect is completely voluntary for all USCG employees, including Active Duty, Civilian, Reservist, and Auxiliarist. Employees are invited to use ECIP Connect as their work schedules permit. Supervisors may monitor the amount of time an employee spends using ECIP Connect and may limit use of ECIP Connect if such use would interfere with an employee's ability to complete assigned duties and responsibilities.

No Endorsements or Advocacy

Comments posted on ECIP Connect that appear to constitute endorsements of or advocacy (for or against) specific commercial products or services, vendors, non-USCG persons, groups, activities, or organizations will be removed. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other nongovernmental organizations, groups, or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of employees using ECIP Connect. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of USCG, DHS, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, group, organization, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying USCG endorsement or approval of any product, person, group, organization, or service.

No Posting of Classified, Privacy Act, Proprietary or Procurement Sensitive Information

Users are prohibited from posting Classified, Privacy Act-protected (e.g., personal phone numbers, personal e-mail addresses, or any other Personally Identifiable Information (PII)), proprietary or procurement sensitive information on ECIP Connect. Any idea that would include, or might divulge such information should be routed to the Innovation Program Manager via the user's chain of command.

No Taking Credit for Another's Ideas

Submission of material to ECIP Connect constitutes the submitter's personal guarantee and warranty that the material (1) is original with the submitter, (2) does not violate the rights of any third party or any local, state, or federal law, including the right of publicity, right of privacy, or any other proprietary right, and (3) is correct and/or accurate to the best of the submitter's knowledge or ability to make it so.

Submissions Become USCG Property

All comments and suggestions submitted to ECIP Connect become the property of USCG upon submission. The submitter expressly waives any right to any compensation in return for the submission. The submitter also grants USCG and its designees all right, title, and interest in such material, including without limitation any copyrights and other legal or equitable rights in and to the materials submitted. The USCG shall have the right to use, disclose, reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, in any manner and for any purpose, and to have or permit others to do so. The rights waived by the submitter shall include, without limitation, the irrevocable right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, combine with other works, alter, translate, distribute copies, display, perform, and license such material, and all rights therein.


Users are encouraged to search ECIP Connect to find existing submissions related to their thoughts before creating a new topic. An ECIP Connect moderator may consolidate posts into older submissions that address a similar underlying idea. The user will receive an e-mail from ECIP confirming his or her idea has been "merged" with an older idea, and will be directed to the original idea.

Evolution of Ideas

ECIP Connect is designed to enable collaborative innovation through an open discussion of ideas. Users can therefore expect to see their own ideas changed, modified, or added to other ideas based on the input of other users. The intended outcome is to use the Coast Guard's collective organizational knowledge to create and refine the most promising ideas. The final proposal derived from the collaborative process may be very different from any individual user's concept.

No Unsolicited Proposals

Employees are generally precluded from doing business with USCG because of the potential for an actual or apparent conflict of interest. See 5 C.F.R. part 2635, and in particular 5 C.F.R. §§ 2635.703, 2635.704, and 2635.705. This website may not be used for the submission of proposals or bids to transact any business of any nature with USCG. Employees who have independently developed intellectual property that they believe may be of interest to USCG may submit unsolicited proposals as provided by other appropriate means; they may not use ECIP Connect for that purpose.

No Solicitations, Fundraising, Commercial or Political Activities

Comments posted on ECIP Connect must not promote commercial activities or profit-making ventures, fundraising, or partisan political activities. This restriction applies to activities that benefit the employee or those that benefit another person or group selected by the employee, to include charitable organizations. Comments that constitute any type of solicitation will be immediately removed for abuse of the program.

No Use for Submission of Claims

ECIP Connect may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy. The submission of matter to this website does not constitute the filing of an administrative claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act or the Contract Disputes Act, a formal or informal complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act, or the Civil Service Reform Act, or an administrative claim or demand under any other federal statute or regulation giving rise to a claim for relief against the United States for which an administrative process is provided by law or policy.

No Limitations on Use by USCG

USCG does not guarantee that material submitted to ECIP Connect will be used for the purposes intended by the submitter. Matter submitted to this website becomes the property of USCG upon submission and USCG may use it for any lawful purpose. Among other things, USCG may investigate or refer for investigation by federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities, or an employee's supervisor, any matter that may relate to a violation or potential violation of civil or criminal law or regulation.

No Guarantee of Reply

ECIP Connect is not a way to enter into a dialogue with USCG officials; it is intended as a mechanism for employees to exchange ideas and propose solutions. There is no requirement for site managers to act upon or reply to matters submitted to ECIP Connect. Employee submissions of ideas or comments on the ECIP Connect website do not constitute official statements or positions by USCG but reflect the individual views of USCG employees. Such submissions and comments are not official statements of USCG (unless specifically designated by the site managers as an authorized agency statement).

No USCG Liability for Comments of Others

USCG does not guarantee or warrant that the information posted by its employees on ECIP Connect is accurate, complete, or adequate, and expressly disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. USCG may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any person. Links to websites not maintained by USCG are provided on this website solely for the information and convenience of users, and do not constitute either a warranty of the accuracy of the information on any other website or an endorsement of any other website, commercial venture, or product. USCG is not directly associated with and cannot assume liability for any private enterprise or the acts or omissions of its employees except to the extent provided by the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b)(1), 1402(b), 2401(b), 2671-2680.

Terms of Use Violation

The moderator may remove any submission that violates the TOU, or is, in the opinion of the moderator, inflammatory, offensive, or inappropriate.

The moderator may also notify an employee's supervisor about a violation of the TOU, or any other misconduct associated with use of ECIP Connect. Thus, violations of the TOU or misconduct associated with use of ECIP Connect may result in administrative and/or punitive action.

Applicable Law

The use of ECIP Connect and the interpretation of these TOU shall be governed by and enforced in accordance with federal law.

Terms of Use Subject to Change

The Coast Guard may change or modify these TOU at any time. Changes are effective immediately upon posting.