Policy - Appropriate Use

The University of British Columbia is committed to ensuring a working and learning environment in which all persons treat others with humanity and respect.

The computing and communications facilities and services provided UBC are primarily intended for teaching, research, and administrative purposes. Their use is governed by all applicable University policies, including the Human Rights, Sexual Harassment, Patents and Licensing and Student Discipline policies, as well as by all applicable Canadian federal, provincial and local laws and statutes, including the Criminal Code of Canada, the B.C. Civil Rights Protection Act, the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the B.C. Human Rights Act. These are supplemented by the acceptable use policies established by those networks to which UBC's campus network is interconnected, the internet, which includes, for example, BCNET and CANET.

The user bears the primary responsibility for the material that he or she chooses to access, send or display. The computer facilities may not be used in any manner which contravenes the above policies, laws or statutes.

Those who do not adhere to these guidelines may be subject to suspension of computing privileges.

Use of ResNet denotes that the user takes responsibility for reading and understanding the guidelines as outlined here, and also denotes acceptance of the terms of use.

Perils of Inappropriate Use

Imagine your ResNet connection is suddenly shut down in the middle of the school term. The network access that you depend on to do your assignments, as well as to communicate with your friends and to keep yourself entertained during off-hours, is no longer there. When it will be turned on again is an open question. Before you have network access restored, a letter about your failure to abide by community standards (or worse) could be sent to your Dean or Department Head. There may even be more serious consequences involving the University Legal Affairs Office and the RCMP. Finally, you may have to pay a fee of $75 or more to reactivate your ResNet connection. And you may not even know that your computer was involved in anything wrong.

None of this is far-fetched. It has happened to students in your residence.

Some Unpleasant Examples

The UBC IT Security Office often fields complaints, most of them from people outside UBC, about the misuse of computers attached to ResNet.

  • All of these complaints represent serious legal threats to the University.
  • Any of them could potentially cause all UBC computers to be denied service to the complainant's Web site and/or other Internet resources.

There has been a case, for example, of a student distributing pirated MP3 (audio) files across the internet. His computer was located by an agency for the copyright holder; the agent's sole job is to find just such illegal files. The copyright holder can take the University to court because of those files on that student's machine. The student's ResNet connection was shut down.

Another student's computer was being used to distribute expensive pirated software from Adobe, SGI and a number of game makers. His connection was also abruptly shut down after his site was found by one of the copyright holders, even though he was not aware of the existence of the software on his computer.

Distribution of illegal files (such as pirated music, motion pictures, software) through any means (including peer-to-peer file transfer applications, FTP servers, and email) is a violation of copyright laws.

Finally, there have been cases of email used inappropriately to harass another person (or persons), as well as cases of spam (large mailings of junk email) and smurf/denial of service attacks (a large volume of repeated calls to a computer, causing it to overload). These offenses are considered to be equally serious.

Your acceptance is implicit in your use of ResNet

By using your ResNet connection and/or your University-provided computer account (Netinfo, Interchange or a departmental account), you agree implicitly to legitimate and socially acceptable conduct. This conduct is detailed in the UBC Policy on Acceptable Use and Security of UBC Electronic Information and Systems, and in the ResNet Service Agreement. Both of these documents refer to the appropriate use policies of all local, regional, national and international networks as well as the laws of all levels of government.

Not only are you responsible for what you do, you are responsible for what others may do if they are able to gain access to your computer over the network. It is important that you make sure the operating system on your computer is secure against intruders who might, for example, use it to store and distribute illegal software. This means that:

  1. You should not leave your computer on unless you are using it.
  2. You should not run any sort of server software unless you are familiar with the security issues involved.
  3. You should not download or run software from a source you don't completely trust.
  4. You should report any unexplainable files on your computer to the IT Sevice Centre.

Spam, smurf attacks and harassment on any grounds or by any means are not acceptable and are sometimes illegal. Copyright infringement, even if "everyone is doing it" is illegal and will be treated as such. Repercussions for violations of responsible use can range from termination of your connection, account and/or computing privileges, to harsher penalties up to and including suspension from UBC or criminal charges laid by the RCMP

UBC IT will, at the least, shut down your connection for offenses committed and levy a charge to reinstate it. The length of time and fine will depend on the nature of the offense. You will be held responsible for your computer's contents.

Related Links

Sharescan Prohibition Policy

ResNet Service Agreement

Responsible Use of Information Technology
BCNET Acceptable Use Policy