Information Technology Services

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ITS Computing and Network Use Policies – No.55, April 2007

The purpose of this policy is to provide general guidelines to all users of information technology resources provided by the University of Rhode Island. The departments and units may have additional policies specific to their unique missions and operational considerations.

General Policy Statement
The computing and networking resources provided by the University of Rhode Island are to be used responsibly in an efficient, ethical and legal manner consistent with the objectives of University.

Participation in the community of network and computer users requires adherence to the same ethical code of conduct as in society at large. The fact that an activity is technologically possible does not necessarily legitimize its use. All users of information technology resources must comply with all federal, Rhode Island and other applicable law, and University policies.

Inappropriate activities may jeopardize a user’s continued access to University’s computing and networking facilities.

Computer/Network Accounts and Use
No one shall use another individual’s computer user ID unless explicitly permitted to do so by the authorized user of that ID. Due diligence should be exercised before assigning to anyone else user IDs that can access sensitive information.

Files and Programs
Information integrity must be protected on all systems. Users shall not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, tapes, diskettes, passwords or any type of data belonging to other users unless specifically authorized to do so. Similarly, individuals shall not use University computing and networking resources to develop or execute programs that could harass others, deny service to other users, infiltrate computing or network systems, gather unauthorized information or damage or alter any software components.

Resource Use
Respect the finite capacity of technological resources and avoid excessive use of resources. Personal computers, dial-up lines, graphics devices, printers, multi-user processor time and data networks are resources that must be shared in an equitable manner to meet the demands of the unit. If demand for computing resources exceeds capacity, priorities and limits may be established by the information technology resource administrators.

Users shall not use the network and computing resources to harass others, violate others’ privacy, tamper with security provisions, attempt entry to non-public hosts or perform illegal acts. Attempts to impersonate others or commit fraudulent acts such as altering the “From:” line or disguising or hiding the origin of electronic messages are prohibited. Other violations include the creation and dissemination of computer “worms” and “viruses,” the sending of electronic chain mail, and the inappropriate sending of “broadcast’ messages. The unauthorized use of programs that scan networks for vulnerabilities and or alter network security are prohibited.

Proprietary Software and Copyrighted Materials
Software programs are protected by Section 117 of the 1976 Copyright Act. Software may not be used without a documented license. Users do not have the right to make and distribute copies of programs without specific permission of the copyright holder. Unauthorized copying and use of copyrighted material is specifically prohibited. This prohibition extends to using a single-licensed copy on more than one computer system or willfully exceeding the number of permitted simultaneous users on a multi-user license unless specifically permitted in the software copyright agreement.

The use of copyrighted materials on the network, systems, Web pages, etc. is prohibited unless such use is covered by federal fair use guidelines or has the permission of the copyright owner.

Personal Use
Information technology resources and services are provided to employees for business use. Personal use is permitted when it does not interfere with normal business activities and when it otherwise complies with this policy. Personal use must not involve solicitation, personal financial gain, outside business activities, or political campaigning. Additional limits may be imposed upon personal use by the specific supervisor.

Security and Privacy
The University employs various measures to protect the security of its information technology resources and of their users’ accounts. However, the University’s measures do not always guarantee security or privacy. Users should exercise caution in using University resources to transmit confidential data.

Unauthorized access to systems and data is prohibited. Attempts to breach the security of systems and data by employees will result in disciplinary actions and possible criminal prosecution.

The University reserves the right for designated technology administrators to access users’ stored information during normal system performance monitoring and maintenance and when investigating cases of computing abuse.

The University, at its discretion, may use the results in disciplinary proceedings with University personnel or law enforcement agencies. Communications made by means of University computing resources may also be subject to Rhode Island’s Public Records Statutes to the same extent as hardcopy communications.

Users who violate this policy may be denied access to University information technology resources and may be subject to other penalties and disciplinary action. Violations will normally be handled through University disciplinary procedures applicable to the user. However, the University may temporarily suspend or block access to an account, prior to the initiation or completion of such procedures, when it appears necessary to do so in order to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of University or other computing resources or to protect the University from liability. Computing privileges may be withdrawn when violations have occurred. In addition, violations are subject to judicial proceedings and criminal penalties.

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