Computer Use Policy

In support of the University's mission of teaching, research, and public service, the University of California, Berkeley provides computing, networking, and information resources to the campus community of students, faculty, and staff.

Rights and Responsibilities

Computers and networks can provide access to resources on and off campus, as well as the ability to communicate with other users worldwide. Such open access is a privilege, and requires that individual users act responsibly. Users must respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the systems and related physical resources, and observe all relevant laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.

Students and employees may have rights of access to information about themselves contained in computer files, as specified in federal and state laws. Files may be subject to search under court order. In addition, system administrators may access user files as required to protect the integrity of computer systems. For example, following organizational guidelines, system administrators may access or examine files or accounts that are suspected of unauthorized use or misuse, or that have been corrupted or damaged.

Existing Legal Context

All existing laws (federal and state) and University regulations and policies apply, including not only those laws and regulations that are specific to computers and networks, but also those that may apply generally to personal conduct.

Misuse of computing, networking, or information resources may result in the restriction of computing privileges. Additionally, misuse can be prosecuted under applicable statutes. Users may be held accountable for their conduct under any applicable University or campus policies, procedures, or collective bargaining agreements. Complaints alleging misuse of campus computing and network resources will be directed to those responsible for taking appropriate disciplinary action. Reproduction or distribution of copyrighted works, including, but not limited to, images, text, or software, without permission of the owner is an infringement of U.S. Copyright Law and is subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment.

Examples of Misuse

Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to, the activities in the following list.

  • Using a computer account that you are not authorized to use. Obtaining a password for a computer account without the consent of the account owner.
  • Using the Campus Network to gain unauthorized access to any computer systems.
  • Knowingly performing an act which will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks.
  • Knowingly running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user, a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network. This includes but is not limited to programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
  • Attempting to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes.
  • Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements or copyright laws.
  • Deliberately wasting computing resources.
  • Using electronic mail to harass others.
  • Masking the identity of an account or machine.
  • Posting materials on electronic bulletin boards that violate existing laws or the University's codes of conduct.
  • Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.

Activities will not be considered misuse when authorized by appropriate University officials for security or performance testing.


Additional Use Policies

The Computer Use Policy applies to use of all Berkeley Campus computing resources. Additional computer and network use policies and terms and conditions may be in place for specific electronic services offered by the campus.

In particular, the CalMail and Home IP services, as well as the Microcomputer Facilities, have additional policies that govern use of these services. The University of California Electronic Communications Policy applies to the use of UC computers and networks for electronic communications. You must familiarize yourselves with any of these when you agree to use these services.

Appropriate Use

UC Berkeley extends to students, faculty, and staff the privilege to use its computers and network. When you are provided access to our campus network, you are enabled to send and receive electronic mail messages around the world, share in the exchange of ideas through electronic news groups, and use Web browsers and other Internet tools to search and find needed information.

The Internet is a very large set of connected computers, whose users make up a worldwide community. In addition to formal policies, regulations, and laws which govern your use of computers and networks, the Internet user community observes informal standards of conduct. These standards are based on common understandings of appropriate, considerate behavior which evolved in the early days of the Internet, when it was used mainly by an academic and highly technical community. The Internet now has a much wider variety of users, but the early codes of conduct persist, crossing boundaries of geography and government, in order to make using the Internet a positive, productive, experience. You are expected to comply with these informal standards and be a "good citizen" of the Internet.

Enforcement

Penalties may be imposed under one or more of the following: University of California regulations, UC Berkeley regulations, California law, or the laws of the United States.

Minor infractions of this policy or those that appear accidental in nature are typically handled informally by electronic mail or in-person discussions. More serious infractions are handled via formal procedures. In some situations, it may be necessary to suspend account privileges to prevent ongoing misuse while the situation is under investigation.

Infractions by students may result in the temporary or permanent restriction of access privileges, notification of a student's academic advisor and/or referral of the situation to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. Those by a faculty or staff member may result in referral to the department chairperson or administrative officer.

Offenses which are in violation of local, state, or federal laws may result in the restriction of computing privileges, and will be reported to the appropriate University and law enforcement authorities.

General Information

For clarification of policies and guidelines applying to Berkeley Campus computing and communications resources, including this Computer Use Policy, contact itpolicy@berkeley.edu. Related policies are available online at the Campus IT policies website.

If you would like to obtain paper brochure copies of this Computer Use Policy, including quantities to distribute at your campus location, please contact itpolicy@berkeley.edu.

Reporting Misuse

Report misuse of campus electronic communication resources to abuse@security.berkeley.edu. For abuse from off-campus, see: Responding to Inappropriate Use of Computing and Network Resources