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HDS Computer Use Policy

Individuals who are provided access to University computer facilities and to the campus-wide communication network assume responsibility for their appropriate use. The University expects individuals to be careful, honest, responsible, and civil in the use of computers and networks. Those who use wide-area networks (such as the Internet) to communicate with others or to connect to computers at other institutions are expected to abide by the rules for the remote systems and networks as well as those for Harvard's systems. Be advised that, in addition to being a violation of College rules, certain computer misconduct is prohibited under Massachusetts General Laws, c.266 subsection 33 (a) and 12 (f) and is, therefore, subject to criminal penalties. Such misconduct includes knowingly gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or data base, falsely obtaining electronic services or data without payment of required charges, and destroying of electronically processed, stored, or in-transit data.

Use of Computer Facilities

The use of Harvard Divinity School computing resources is for purposes related to the School's mission of education, research, and public service. Users are entitled to use the School's computing resources only for purposes related to their studies, their instruction, the discharge of their duties as employees, their official business with Harvard Divinity School, and other University-sanctioned activities.

User Responsibilities

1. Individuals assume personal responsibility for the use of their accounts.

Consequently, users may not disclose their passwords or otherwise make Harvard's facilities available to unauthorized individuals (including family or friends). Users are responsible for maintaining the security of their accounts.

2. The possession or collection of passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), private digital certificates, or other secure identification information belonging to other users is prohibited.

3. Use of any Harvard University owned computer or network for private, commercial, non-Harvard business purposes without explicit authorization is a violation of these terms and conditions of use and will result in the termination of computer privileges.

4. Computer facilities have tangible value. Consequently, attempts to circumvent accounting systems or to use the computer accounts of others will be treated as forms of attempted theft.

5. Users may not copy, publish, store or transmit data when doing so would constitute a violation of copyright. Users who are in any doubt as to the copyright status of data they wish to store or send should contact the HDS Information Technology and Media Services group for help in determining the legality of their planned use of the data.

Harvard's statement on copyright policy, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and frequently asked questions on the application of the law can be found at:

6. Users are prohibited from installing, storing or using unlicensed software on HDS computers. Transmission of such software over either the HDS or University network is prohibited.

7. The introduction of data or programs which in some way endangers computing resources or the information of other users (e.g., a computer worm, virus, or other destructive program), or which infringes upon the rights of other Harvard Divinity School users (e.g., inappropriate, obscene, pornographic, bigoted, or abusive materials) is prohibited.

8. Recognizing that computers and networks are limited resources, users must use them efficiently.

9. Individuals may not attempt to circumvent security systems or to exploit or probe for security holes in any Harvard or HDS network or system, nor may individuals attempt any such activity against other systems accessed through Harvard's facilities. Execution or compilation of programs designed to breach system security is prohibited unless authorized in advance.

10. The compilation or redistribution of information from University and/or HDS directories (printed or electronic) to third parties is forbidden.

Harvard Divinity School is entitled to remove from any HDS computing resource data and programs that are found to be inappropriate, as defined above and/or to terminate the computing privileges of any user who violates the policies outlined above.

Security and Confidentiality

Harvard Divinity School considers all data stored on shared resources to be confidential, unless that information has been made explicitly available to other groups or individuals by the data's owner. Harvard Divinity School will assume that computer users wish the information they store on our shared computing resources to remain confidential. Therefore, Harvard Divinity School will help users of its shared computing resources protect the data they stored on or transmitted through those resources from accidental loss, tampering, or unauthorized search, or other access.

On shared and networked computer systems certain information about users and their activities is visible to others. Users are cautioned that certain accounting and directory information (for example, user names and electronic mail addresses), certain records of file names and executed commands, and information stored in public areas, are not private. Nonetheless, such unsecured information about other users must not be manipulated in ways that they might reasonably find intrusive; for example, eavesdropping by computer and systematic monitoring of the behavior of others are likely to be considered invasions of privacy that would be cause for disciplinary action.

Electronic Communication

Harvard neither sanctions nor censors individual expression of opinion on its systems. However, the same standards of behavior are expected in the use of electronic mail as in the use of telephones and written and oral communication. Therefore electronic mail, like telephone messages, must be neither obscene nor harassing. Similarly, messages must not misrepresent the identity of the sender and should not be sent as chain letters or broadcast indiscriminately to large numbers of individuals. This prohibition includes unauthorized mass electronic mailings. For example, email on a given topic that is sent to large numbers of recipients should in general be directed only to those who have indicated a willingness to receive such email.

Individuals are expected to abide by the rules and policies outlined in this document and to consult an official of the HDS Information Technology Services group prior to any activity that would appear to violate any of them. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

Modified: April 17, 2003