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Computing Code of Conduct

Computing Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct
for the Use of
Department of Computer Science Facilities
Version 1.10 Revised: 1998/04/14

The faculty of the Department of Computer Science (DCS) at RIT has adopted the following Code of Conduct for the use of DCS facilities. We will announce any amendments or modifications to the Code.

Providing open, accessible facilities is a primary goal of DCS. Such an environment supports both formal coursework and individual experimentation and innovation. As the owner of the facilities, DCS has established this Code of Conduct to help ensure that we achieve this goal. The success of this endeavor, however, depends upon a professional, ethical attitude on the part of all users. You must agree to abide by this Code as a condition of obtaining authorization to use DCS facilities. If you violate this Code, you may face one or more of the following actions: loss of facilities privileges, termination from program of study, suspension from the Institute, and legal action by the Institute or other affected parties.

If you have any questions about this document, or whether an activity or use of DCS facilities you are contemplating is permissible, ask a DCS faculty member or send mail to the Hearing Committee on Computer Misuse at .

Within this document, the term facilities refers to any and all hardware (computer systems, peripheral devices, modems, dialup lines, communication devices, network hardware, etc.), software (operating systems, language processors, etc.), information, and physical space provided by DCS to support coursework and research. A user is any person who makes use of (in any way, shape, or form) a DCS facility or service; an owner is a user to whom an account or a DCS service has been assigned by DCS. ____________________

DCS facilities are primarily intended for use by students to perform coursework related to DCS courses. When time and resources permit, non-course-related activities are allowed, subject to the control of DCS. The nature of your access to DCS facilities and the privileges accompanying that access are determined by your relationship to DCS (e.g., major, non-major, undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty, staff, etc.) It is your responsibility to find out about particular conditions of use for any DCS equipment or service and to obtain proper authorization in advance of any use. In some cases, authorization may be as simple as receiving the password to an account; in other cases, it may require first determining the owner of a particular piece of equipment or service and then obtaining the owner's permission to use it. Using or attempting to use equipment or services without appropriate authorization is not acceptable, and is considered to be misuse of facilities. (As examples, permission to use the standard system commands on a DCS computer system is generally automatic with the creation of an account; permission to use commands developed by other users of the system may not be automatic.) Note that any project assigned as part of a course is considered to be ``acceptable use'' of DCS facilities.

Examples of misuse of facilities include (but are not limited to):

+ Giving the password for a computer account to anyone other than the owner of that account, or in any way allowing another person to masquerade as the owner of the account. An exception to this is an account which has been given to a group of people (e.g., a programming team in a DCS programming course) specifically for use by all members of the group.

+ Using, accessing, altering, or gaining entry to information held in a computer account owned by another user without explicit permission from that user. Such permission must be granted by the owner of the account, and may not be passed on by a third party. An exception to this is any service to which access has been granted to the user community (or a subset thereof) in general by the owner of the service (e.g., access to a file in a computer account may be granted through the use of general read permission given by the owner of the file; this implies that all users are granted permission to read the file.)

+ Using, accessing, altering, or exercising privileges or resources not associated with an account without the explicit permission of DCS's Computer Systems and Facilities Administrator. Such permission must be granted to the owner of the account personally, and may not be passed on by a third party.

+ Using a computer account for purposes other than those for which it was created (e.g., using an account created for a course grader to develop, store, or distribute software which does not pertain to grading of course assignments).

+ Distributing information which was not intended for distribution by its owner (e.g., passwords, computer programs or parts thereof, copyrighted material, telephone number lists, etc.).

+ Deliberately preventing others from using equipment or services without acceptable cause, unreasonably slowing down or delaying access to equipment or services by others, or deliberately wasting resources (including but not limited to ``holding'' dialup lines, using unreasonable amounts of processor time or network bandwidth, printing blank pages, using excessive amounts of disk space, sending ``chain letters'', etc.)

+ Maintaining or operating software which distributes or provides system resources to other users (including but not limited to a bulletin-board system, software distribution mechanism, or networking software) without the prior written permission of the Computer Systems and Facilities Administrator. This applies whether or not such activity is for-profit, and whether it is on or through (e.g., via dialup lines) DCS facilities; in particular, the use of DCS facilities as a gateway to a machine you own or operate is prohibited.

+ Avoiding any mechanism installed for the purpose of accounting for resource usage, monitoring resource consumption, or controlling access to facilities or services.

+ Violating any copyright or licensing agreement(s) regarding software and/or documentation. This includes (but is not limited to) redistribution of system software (source or binary form) or documentation, and commercial use of the system.

+ Using any DCS equipment or service to harass, stalk, or annoy others. This includes but is not limited to the sending of anonymous electronic messages (via electronic mail or otherwise), monitoring of other users' activities, and displaying of questionable textual or graphical information.

+ Using any DCS equipment or service to commit fraudulent representation, falsify information, or commit acts of criminality or academic dishonesty.

+ Performing any act which will compromise the security or integrity of any DCS facility or any computer account on a DCS computer, or taking advantage of security lapses on the part of other users of DCS facilities.

+ Attempting to access any facilities that you are not authorized to use, such as file servers or remote systems.

As a member of the DCS computing community, you are exptected to use the facilities with care, and must abide by any rules and regulations pertaining to their use.

The computer systems operated by DCS are intended primarily for academic related computing needs. The support of recreational computer programs (e.g., games) is not a primary mission of DCS. DCS policies regarding game playing on DCS systems are described in a separate document, "Policy on the Use of Computer Games on Department of Computer Science Facilities" .

Users assume the responsibility for all commands, scripts, and programs that they execute. Be particularly careful when you receive a program from someone else: you are responsible for any problems that are caused by using such programs.

DCS also provides access to a variety of electronic communications services as a service to its users. These services include electronic mail (both local mail and mail to offcampus locations), the USENET distributed information system, gopher, and the World Wide Web (WWW). Access to these facilities is a privilege which must be used with intelligence and discretion. Mail messages to off-campus locations should be short and to the point. Submissions to USENET are potentially accessible anywhere in the world.

Information provided via WWW pages must be in accordance with these standards. In addition, since the WWW services use DCS equipment and facilities, the pages held by these systems reflect on the Institute and Department. As such, WWW page contents (and information accessible on RIT systems via these pages) must adhere to the highest standards of propriety and taste. Users who make use of these services in an irresponsible manner or who engage in libel, inflammatory postings, or illegal activities, will at the minimum lose these privileges.

When making use of DCS facilities to connect to systems outside of DCS, users must know the rules or code of conduct that apply to the remote system and abide by them.

Any actions or activities that violate RIT regulations or local, state, or federal laws will be reported to the appropriate authorities for legal action.

All users of the DCS facilities at RIT are bound by the terms of the licenses and other agreements DCS, CAST, and RIT have entered into. Many of these agreements restrict the ways in which the facilities, both hardware and software, can be used. Failure to observe these restrictions may result in legal action against you or RIT. In particular, use of DCS's UNIX[1] systems is restricted according to the terms of RIT's UNIX licenses. It is DCS policy to apply the following restrictions to all DCS computer systems and services:

+ Use of DCS's UNIX-based systems for any profit-making venture (such as the development of marketable software) is prohibited.

+ Development of any proprietary product or any product to which any third party has preferential rights is prohibited.

+ Use of DCS's UNIX-based systems for or by any third party (i.e., someone other than an RIT employee or student) is prohibited.

+ The disclosure or transmission of any source or object code associated with UNIX to anyone without the explicit permission of the Computer Systems and Facilities Administrator is prohibited.

Certain DCS facilities or services may have additional restrictions on their use; prior to gaining access to them, you will be informed of these restrictions.

Because abuses of DCS facilities may result in the loss of service to other users, and because DCS may be held criminally liable for some forms of abuse, DCS is obligated to take steps to prevent abuses of DCS facilities. When abuses are discovered, DCS is obligated to take steps to put an end to them, and to ensure that they are not repeated. To this end, DCS may examine any files owned by your account (including electronic mail) when necessary to prevent or remedy abuses of DCS facilities.

DCS uses a variety of techniques to check compliance with this Code of Conduct. Evidence of unsuccessful attempts to violate the Code will be dealt with as if they were actual violations. Similarly, programs, files, or other objects which appear designed to compromise this Code may be considered proof of intent to commit a violation. Refusal to decrypt or otherwise reveal the contents of files suspected of containing incriminating information may be treated as admission that violations have occurred or were intended.

DCS maintains a Hearing Committee on Computer Misuse (HCCM). This committee is charged with evaluating evidence of misuse of DCS facilities, and is empowered to place restrictions on users of DCS facilities. The Committee may be contacted through the DCS Office, or by electronic mail to .


[1]UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.