Department of Engineering

IT Services

General Rules and Guidelines Governing the Use of Computers

The following paragraphs summarise the main points but for full details see the index to the full rules. Notices may also from time to time be issued in the Departmental Bulletin, with copies on the main teaching system available via the "sysnews" command. Users are expected to make themselves aware of these notices.

Users should be aware that private data (including email) may sometimes be included in the process of investigating malfunction or the suspected misuse of computer systems or the network. The arrangements for such investigations are detailed here. Personal data about all members of the Department (including students) is held in the Department's databases, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, as detailed here.

User Identifiers and Accounts

  • User identifiers are issued for use by a single named individual. All users of systems attached to the Departmental network must be registered on the central Departmental computer system. See the Helpdesk (helpdesk) to register.
  • You must not log in using another individual's login name, or allow any other person to access facilities using your login name. You should therefore not leave unattended logins on publicly accessible systems, including those in the DPO (where it is also antisocial in preventing others using the terminal).
  • You must set a secure login password and keep it secret (see Setting a new logon password). The choice of a secure password is essential both to the security of your own account and potentially to those of others as many means of "hacking" systems require the hacker to have an account on the system to which they can login.

Responsible Use of Computing Facilities

  • Accounts on the Engineering Systems are issued primarily for academic work. A small amount of recreational use is permitted but this must not interfere with academic use of the system or annoy or upset other users, e.g. by causing noise or displaying pornographic images.
  • The Teaching System is a shared Departmental facility and must be used responsibly, allowing fair access to all those needing to use it. Access is restricted during teaching and there are a separate set of guidelines covering this. At all times, long running jobs should be run using the GridEngine system. For security and other reasons, server processes (eg IRC daemons) must not be left running on the system.
  • Information belonging to other users is confidential. You must not read, access or modify any file not owned by you without the explicit permission of the owner. On the CUED Teaching System user files are, by default, protected from read or write access by others. Even when a file is not protected in this way, (i.e. read or write access by others is allowed), it should NOT be assumed that permission to access the file is granted.

Responsible Use of The Network

  • Users must not misuse networking facilities, eg by attempting to access remote computer systems without proper authorisation, and the network must not be used for any illegal purposes (see below).
  • Systems attached to the Department's network and their users must be registered, as must any other external connections which could provide independent access to the network (eg ADSL, VPNs, modems). Proper care must be taken to ensure their security and that of the network as a whole. See the network rules for further details.
  • The Department is charged on a volume basis for network traffic external to the University. Also, whilst the Department aims to provide a modern high bandwidth network, no network is immune to congestion caused by very high traffic levels. Users must therefore be careful not generate large volumes of traffic unnecessarily or for purposes other than the Department's academic work. Streamed video for more than a few minutes and transfers of large amounts of data are likely to be significant in this respect.
  • Users must not attempt to hide their identity or impersonate someone else. Email and other communications must not be abusive, intimidating, harassing or misleading. The sending of bulk unsolicited email is not permitted and you should not retaliate if you get junk email. See the rules on email for further details.
  • Web pages must conform to Departmental guidelines and any Web server on the Department's network must have the approval of the appropriate Divisional Web Administrator. See the WWW rules for further details.

Legal and Related Responsibilities

  • Users have a general obligation to be aware of and abide by all legislation applicable to their use of computers. This section covers the most commonly applicable areas.
  • The permission of the copyright holder must be obtained before copying or distributing any copyright material whether software, music or video. The page on copyright, provides further details and a list of programs whose use infringes copyright and which must not be used on any system in the Department.
  • All software must be used correctly in accordance with any licensing conditions. The following notes provide guidance on your obligations in this area.
  • The use of Departmental systems to view, store or distribute pornographic material is contrary to the Department's rules.
  • Storage and use of data about identifiable individuals is regulated by the Data Protection Acts 1984 and 1998. If Departmental computing facilities are used for such purposes, the use must be registered. For further information see the Department's Data Protection Officer (dpa-officer)'s pages.

The Rules

All users are required to sign a declaration agreeing to abide by the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate Rules. Note that serious misuse of facilities may be dealt with by a Disciplinary Panel of Syndicate Members, which has power to fine or suspend users guilty of misconduct. Minor misuse of the Department's systems may be punished by a system of fixed penalty fines.

The University Computing Service issue further guidelines on the interpretation of the Information Strategy and Services Syndicate Rules.