Computer Use Guidelines
Revised September 1, 2007
The purpose of these guidelines is to
outline the acceptable uses of computing and technology resources for the
Harford Community College (HCC) community. These guidelines outline the
standards for acceptable use of the College’s computing and technology
systems (collectively, the “Systems”) that include, but are not limited to,
equipment, software, networks, data, copy/print equipment, Internet,
Intranet, electronic mail, voice mail and telecommunications equipment
whether owned, leased, or otherwise provided by HCC. These guidelines are
intended to reflect the College’s commitment to the principles, goals, and
ideals described in the HCC vision statement and to its core values.
Exceptions to these guidelines can only be
authorized by the Vice President for Information Technology or the College
Access to Computer Resources
Harford Community College provides computing and networking resources to
the campus community of students, faculty, staff, and the public to support
its educational mission. Computers, networks, and the Systems 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 HCC policies or any requirements that
may be approved by the Board of Trustees. Computing and networking resources
must always be used in compliance with all international, federal, state,
and local laws and regulations.
The College expects all computer users to
understand and abide by these user obligations when using the computer
equipment and resources.
Everyone using Harford Community College’s Systems is responsible for
protecting information transmitted, used and/or stored on/in HCC’s Systems.
- Use Systems only with proper authorization.
- Neither endanger the security of the College’s Systems nor willfully
interfere with others’ authorized Systems use.
- Provide reasonable security to one’s passwords and respect the privacy
and security of others’ passwords. Users may be held accountable for
content and work performed with their user ID and password.
If it is suspected that a password has been compromised, it
should be changed immediately. Users are also prohibited from attempts to
alter their identity, either using another’s password, or to establish a
- Protect confidential and proprietary information, as provided for by law.
To every extent possible, student and employee social security numbers
will not be kept on desktop or laptop computers, or transmitted via e-mail.
This is especially important for laptop users and employees who work at home.
Guidelines and Responsibilities
In general, the HCC community may use the
College’s Systems (including authorized personally owned computers or
devices connected to the HCC network) in connection with the College’s core
teaching, research, and service missions. Under no circumstances may members
of the HCC community use the College’s Systems in ways that are unethical or
illegal, that threaten the College’s status, or that interfere with
reasonable use by other members of the HCC community. Any use of the
College’s Systems for pornographic, offensive, harassing or commercial
purposes (including private/ personally owned businesses) is strictly
The following examples, though not covering
every situation, are also prohibited:
- Use College's network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote computers.
- Attempt to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes.
- Monitor another user's data communications.
- Read, copy, change, or delete another user's files or software without permission of the owner.
- Share or loan an account to any individual not assigned to it. All user accounts, including logon, e-mail
access, and network storage are for use by the individual or individuals assigned.
- Acquire, reproduce, distribute or share unauthorized copies of copyright materials (including peer-to-peer file
sharing). Penalties for violation of copyright laws include fines and/or criminal prosecution.
- Intentionally make changes to software or hardware, which damages or disrupts a computing system, alters its normal
performance, or causes it to malfunction.
- Harass or threaten others by sending annoying, threatening, libelous, or sexually, racially, or religiously
offensive e-mail messages.
- Knowingly tamper with, obstruct, or impair the availability of HCC resources, or attempt to do so.
- Knowingly send a crippling number of files across the network; introduce damaging, self-propagating, or otherwise
harmful software into a machine or a network.
- Knowingly hoard computer, network, or print resources in an attempt to deliberately degrade performance or deny
service to others in the campus community.
- Install unauthorized or unlicensed software.
- Attempt to circumvent or interfere with established network security.
- Run unauthorized password cracking or virus generating programs on HCC computing systems.
- Physically attach any personally owned computer equipment to any device on the campus networks without the specific
authorization of the Vice President for Information Technology. This excludes laptop/tablet computers, PDA’s, and
USB/Firewire storage devices whose use has already been authorized by the Vice President for Information
Technology so long as they are being used in accordance with these guidelines.
Privacy and Security
There is no inherent right to privacy for
information stored on HCC Systems , except as provided by the Privacy Act of
1974. All components and all communications and information stored in,
transmitted from, received by or contained within the Systems are the
property of the College. Federal law permits system administrator access to
stored electronic communications if that access is necessary for the
rendition of service. Random monitoring of electronic communications by HCC
is generally not conducted unless required to do so by law or at the request
of the College President, who in his/her sole discretion suspects violations
of the requirements of these guidelines. The College does reserve the right
to investigate unusual or suspicious activities that relate to Systems when
becoming aware of such activities. These investigations could include
monitoring desktops, software programs, individual files, etc. to ensure
that resources are being used appropriately, and to ensure that
inappropriate personal use, illegal or unethical behavior, or other
activities that could jeopardize the ability to provide resources to the
College community are not occurring.
Sanctions for Violations
Failure to comply with the appropriate use
of the College’s Systems threatens the atmosphere for the sharing of
information, the free exchange of ideas, the secure environment for creating
and maintaining information. Failure to comply with the requirements of
these guidelines subjects one to disciplinary action. Any member of the HCC
community found using computing and technology resources for unethical or
unacceptable practices has violated these guidelines and is subject to
disciplinary proceedings up to and including suspension of system
privileges, expulsion from school, termination of employment and/or legal
action as may be appropriate (students are also subject to information in
the Student Code).
HCC reserves the right to limit or restrict
the use of its Systems based on institutional priorities and financial
considerations, as well as when it is presented with evidence of a violation
of College policies, contractual agreements, or state and federal laws and
These guidelines shall be assessed three
years from their effective date to determine appropriateness and
applicability. The guidelines may be assessed before that time to reflect
significant changes to the Systems and/or changes in legal statutes that
impact technology resources, copyright, or other intellectual property