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 by UBC are primarily intended for teaching, research, and administrative purposes. Their use is governed by all applicable University policies , including:

Their use is also governed by all applicable Canadian federal, provincial and local laws and statutes, including:

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

Examples of Inappropriate Use

The UBC IT Security Office often fields complaints about the misuse of computers.

  • 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.


Here are some examples of inappropriate use of your Virtual Server:

  • Distributing pirated MP3 (audio) files across the internet.
  • Distributing expensive pirated software.
  • Email used inappropriately to harass another person (or persons).
  • Large mailings of junk email or spam.
  • Smurf/Denial of service attacks. A large volume of repeated calls to a computer, causing it to overload.


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. The copyright holder can take the University to court because of those files on your Virtual Server, even if you are not aware of the existence of the files. These offenses are considered to be equally serious.

Your acceptance is implicit in your use of Virtual Server Services

By using your Virtual Server, you agree implicitly to legitimate and socially acceptable conduct. This conduct is detailed in the University's Guidelines on the Responsible Use of Information Technology Facilities and Services , Access to and Security of Administrative Information Systems and in the Virtual Server Services Service Level Agreement. 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 Virtual Server over the network. It is important that you make sure the operating system on your Virtual Server is secure against intruders who might, for example, use it to store and distribute illegal software. This means that:

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


Spam, smurf attacks and harassment on any grounds or by any means are not acceptable and are sometimes illegal. Copyright infringement is illegal and will be treated as such. Repercussions for violations of responsible use can range from termination of your server access, account, computing privileges and/or the Virtual Server itself, 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 server access and/or your Virtual Server itself 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 Virtual Server's contents.