University Conditions of Use & Policy on Computing Ethics

Conditions of Use

The use of the University’s computing facilities in connection with University activities and de minimis personal use is a privilege extended to various members of the University community; it is not a right. Users of the University’s computing facilities are required to comply with, and by using such facilities agree that they are on notice of and agree to comply with, be subject to, and grant the University the right to implement, the Boston University Information Security Policy, the Policy on Computing Ethics, and these Conditions of Use. Users also agree to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and to refrain from engaging in any activity that is inconsistent with the University’s tax-exempt status or that would subject the University to liability. The University reserves the right to amend these Conditions and Policies at any time without prior notice and to take such further actions as may be necessary or appropriate to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

To protect the integrity of the University’s computing facilities and its users against unauthorized or improper use of those facilities, and to investigate possible use of those facilities in violation of or in aid of violation of University rules and policies, Boston University reserves the right, without notice, to limit or restrict any individual’s use, and to inspect, copy, remove, or otherwise alter any data, file, or system resource which may undermine the authorized use of any computing facility or which is used in violation of University rules or policies. Boston University also reserves the right periodically to examine any system and any other rights necessary to protect its computing facilities.

The University disclaims responsibility for loss of data or interference with files resulting from its efforts to maintain the privacy and security of those computing facilities or from system malfunction or any other cause. As used herein and in the Policy on Computing Ethics below, the term “computing facility” means, refers to, and includes any and all forms of computer-related equipment, tools, and intellectual property, including computer systems, personal computers, computer networks, and all forms of software, firmware, operating software, and application software, which are owned or leased by the University or are under the University’s possession, custody, or control.
Notice to All Users: Users of the University’s computing facilities, including University-supported electronic mail, are on notice, and by using these facilities agree, that no representation has been made to them as to the privacy of any communication or data stored on or sent through these facilities; that the University has reserved the rights set forth below and in the Boston University Information Security Policy and Policy on Computing Ethics; and that the use of these facilities is restricted to University-authorized purposes.

Policy on Computing Ethics

Thousands of users share the computing facilities at Boston University. These facilities must be used responsibly by everyone, since misuse by even a few individuals has the potential to disrupt University business or the work of others. You are therefore required to exercise responsible, ethical behavior when using the University’s computing facilities. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. You must use only those computer resources which you have been authorized to use by the University. The unauthorized use of computer resources, as well as the providing of false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining access to computing facilities, is prohibited and may be regarded as a criminal act and treated accordingly by the University. You must not use University computing facilities to gain unauthorized access to computing facilities of other institutions, organizations, or individuals.

2. You may not authorize anyone to use your computer accounts for any reason. You are responsible for all use of your accounts. You must take all reasonable precautions, including password maintenance and file protection measures, to prevent use of your account by unauthorized persons. You must not, for example, share your password with anyone else, and you should change your password regularly.

3. You must use the University’s computer resources only for the University-related purposes for which they were authorized. As with all University equipment, use of the computer facilities, including the Campus Network, for private or commercial purposes is prohibited, except as expressly authorized. You must not use the University’s computer resources for any unlawful purpose, such as the installation or distribution of fraudulently or illegally obtained software. Use of external networks connected to the University’s networks must comply with the policies of acceptable use promulgated by the organizations responsible for those networks.

4. You must not access, alter, copy, move or remove information, proprietary software or other files (including programs, members of subroutine libraries, data, and electronic mail) without prior authorization from the appropriate University data trustee, security officer, or other responsible party. You must not copy, distribute, display, or disclose third-party proprietary software without prior authorization from the licensor. Proprietary software must not be installed on systems not properly licensed for its use.

5. You must not use any computing facility irresponsibly or in a way that might needlessly interfere with the work of others. This includes transmitting or making accessible offensive, annoying, or harassing material, or materials such as chain letters, unauthorized mass mailings, or unsolicited advertising; intentionally, recklessly, or negligently damaging any system, material, or information not belonging to you; intentionally intercepting electronic communications or otherwise violating the privacy of information not belonging to or intended for you; intentionally misusing system resources or making it possible for others to do so; or loading software or data from untrustworthy sources, such as freeware, onto administrative systems.

6. You are encouraged to report any violation of these guidelines by another individual and any information relating to a flaw in or bypass of computing facility security to Information Technology, University Information Systems, or Internal Audit.

The unauthorized or improper use of Boston University’s computer facilities, including the failure to comply with the above guidelines, constitutes a violation of University policy and will subject the violator to disciplinary and/or legal action by the University, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution. In addition, the University may require restitution for any use of service which is in violation of these guidelines. Any questions about this policy or of the applicability of this policy to a particular situation should be referred to Information Technology, University Information Systems, or Internal Audit.