CSULB Computer Use Policy, Sect. 3

Last Modified: 02 Jul 96

Paper copies of this document are available from the Academic Senate office.


This section of the Policy consists of a list of several activities that you cannot or should not do. While these are not all of the possible violations, there are still many more things you can do than things you can't do. This list is intended to inform you and to reinforce the principles of fair and responsible computer use that we seek to engender at CSULB.

Violations of these principles or any attempt to violate these principles constitutes misuse. Violations include, but are not limited to:

3.1. Sharing passwords without prior written authorization from the appropriate system administrator or designee.

The consequences of sharing your password can be significant for the system and for you as well. This action leaves you vulnerable to such things as impersonation by another user.

However, even if you are not concerned about the safety of your own account and data, you have a responsibility to other users to help maintain the security of the system. Your responsibility is like that of a tenant in an apartment building. Though the tenant may not be concerned about his or her own apartment, feeling that it contains little or nothing of value, he or she still has a responsibility to the other tenants to keep the main entrance secure.

3.2. Unauthorized accessing, using, copying, modifying, or deleting of files, data, user ids, access rights, usage records, or disk space allocations; or attempting to modify or remove computer equipment, software, or peripherals without proper authorization.

You are authorized to access, use, copy, modify, or delete files, data, or access rights on your own account as specified in the Policy. You are not authorized to perform any of these functions on another user's account or a University system unless specifically given permission by the account holder, your job description, or the appropriate system administrator or designee.

A person who finds a door to another's home unlocked does not have the right to enter the home simply because it is unsecured. Similarly, the fact that someone's account and its data are unprotected does not mean that you have the right to access it.

3.3. Accessing resources for purposes other than those for which the access was originally issued, including inappropriate use of authority or special privileges.

User privacy is not to be violated; all users are to be protected from unauthorized activity by a system administrator or other users.

3.4. Copying or capturing licensed software or other copyrighted material (other than under the fair-use provision of the Copyright laws) for use on a system or by an individual for which the software is not authorized or licensed, or installing software or other copyrighted material on a system for which it is not authorized or licensed.

CSULB subscribes to the principles expressed in the EDUCOM Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software. According to U.S. Copyright Law, all intellectual works are automatically covered by copyright unless explicitly noted to the contrary. "Unauthorized copying and use of software deprives publishers and developers of a fair return for their work, increases prices, reduces the level of future support and enhancements, and can inhibit the development of new software products."

-- "Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community" EDUCOM

U.S. Copyright law applies to all software users. For a copy of the EDUCOM guidelines, write or call: EDUCOM, 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 872 - 4200.

CSULB does not condone or authorize the illegal copying or possession of software or other copyrighted material. University students and employees are prohibited from copying software illegally and possessing illegal copies of software, whether for course-related, job-related, or private use. Any violations of this policy or of Copyright law are the personal responsibility of the user. The University will not assume any liability for such acts.

Some software may be in the public domain, for use with no fee and no restrictions; some software may be available at no charge but still subject to certain copyright restrictions; some software may be available as "shareware" for a nominal fee. It is the user's responsibility to determine if any of these categories apply to a specific program before copying it, and to submit any shareware fees and comply with all other restrictions. If you are in doubt about the status of any program, contact the appropriate system administrator.

3.5. Use of computing resources for remote activities that are unauthorized at the remote site.

For example, if you are accessing another university's system using a CSULB computing resource, you must follow that school's own computing rules. Your actions reflect upon the entire CSULB community.

3.6. Causing computer failure through an intentional attempt to "crash the system," or through the intentional introduction of a program that is intended to subvert a system, such as a worm, virus, Trojan horse; a program that creates a trap door; or any similar method or program.

You have a responsibility to other users to help maintain the security of the system. The intentional introduction of a subversive program is considered a grave offense, as are direct, disruptive attacks against other users or systems, such as mail bombs, spam, blanket, or robot postings or any other activity that results in serious disruption of any systems on the Internet.

Taking reasonable precautions is part of your responsibility. If you accidently launch a process that goes into an infinite loop, consuming CPU time and/or disk space without limit, kill it immediately. If you think you may have accidentally introduced a subversive or dangerous program, contact your local system administrator as soon as possible.

3.7. Intentional obscuring or forging of the date, time, physical source, logical source, or other header information of a message or transaction.

Header information of electronic mail, files, and printouts is an essential part of the identification and documentation of your work. Forging electronic mail or masking identification information -- for amusement, personal gain, or other reasons -- is not allowed.

3.8. Using any computing resource in a way that is harassing or threatening to another individual.

Users of e-mail and other computer-mediated communications are part of an "electronic community" in which responsible citizenship is just as important as it is in other types of communities. Harassment and intimidation are as irresponsible and unwelcome in electronic media as they are in face-to-face contact, and are not permitted.

3.9. Interception of transmitted information without prior written authorization from the appropriate system administrator.

This violation is a serious invasion of another user's privacy and is analogous to tapping that person's telephone line. The University respects the right to privacy of all users and endeavors to do all in its power to maintain that right. You should be aware that sometimes, in the course of system maintenance, transmissions are tracked, but the contents are not read. You should also be aware that unauthorized users of the system are not afforded this same protection from invasion of their privacy. This means that the University can and will read transmissions by unauthorized users, to maintain the integrity and security of the computer resources for all authorized users.

3.10. Failure to protect one's account from unauthorized use (e.g., leaving one's terminal publicly logged on but unattended).

When you do not protect your account from unauthorized use, you weaken the security of not only your account, but the entire system. Keeping your password secure and attending to your account when logged on are key means of protection.

3.11. Using computing resources in any way that is academically dishonest.

Computer-assisted plagiarism is still plagiarism. Unless specifically authorized by a class instructor, all of the following uses of a computer are violations of the University's guidelines for academic honesty and are punishable as acts of plagiariam, which is a form of cheating:

  • Copying a computer file that contains another student's assignment and submitting it as your own work
  • Copying a computer file that contains another student's assignment and using it as a model for your own assignment
  • Working together on an assignment, sharing the computer files or programs involved, and then submitting individual copies of the assignment as your own work
  • Knowingly allowing another student to copy or use one of your computer files and to submit that file, or a modification of it, as his or her own individual work.
For further information on this topic read the University Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism; a summary of this policy may be found in the University Bulletin. (Note: this section is based on the University of Delaware policy)

3.12. Violation of priorities for use of computing resources as established by an individual facility within the CSULB system.

Some CSULB computing facilities may have no usage rules beyond those given in this brochure. However, many have established priorities or restrictions for use of computing resources to ensure that scholarly activities are granted more weight than, for example, recreational game play and other non-academic pursuits. These priorities must be respected.

3.13. Participation in activities which undermine other users access to their fair share of the resources.

Common courtesy should be enough to avoid these problems. Examples of unreasonable interference include, but are not limited to:

  • Playing games for recreation when another user needs the resource for more scholarly activities.
  • Exceeding established disk space, time, or other allocations.
  • Intentionally running programs that attempt to execute endless loops.
  • Printing large jobs during periods of heavy computer use.
  • Printing multiple copies of a document.
  • Printing paper copies when "print preview" on a terminal would suffice.

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CSULB Academic Senate, Educational Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Computer Policy, policy@csulb.edu