Responsible Computer Use Policy

There’s been a little bit of low-level freaking out and paranoia lately about what is and isn’t allowed, and some mis-information spread around, too. I thought it might be important for everyone’s sanity to address both.

The CCC “Responsible Computer Use Policy” urges and requires just that–responsible computer use. You can and SHOULD read the policy approved by the board regarding what constitutes, and what doesn’t, responsible use of CCC equipment.

I have spent enough time getting familiar with it to say that the policy was mis-characterized at the most recent chapter meeting. I’m not saying their advice–to limit one’s work on CCC equipment to strictly work related activities–was bad advice; it isn’t. That is surely the safest way to avoid trouble. Personally, though, I will not be following that advice, but will follow the policy instead.

The policy, if you haven’t bothered to read it, is basically as follows:

~Don’t break the law;

~Don’t do anything you aren’t authorized to do (i.e., don’t use someone else’s password to see some database that you aren’t supposed to, don’t give you password to someone else, don’t hack the system, etc.);

~Don’t be naughty (no harassment, don’t use up a ton of bandwidth watching movies all day during office hours, don’t swap files (music, software, etc.) that is copyrighted, don’t use your computer to run a side business for personal profit);

~Respect others’ privacy and protect your own (while knowing that your activities are not strictly private and may be monitored);

~Other stuff (follow copyright laws for stuff you post on your CCC site, be careful with third party connections, cooperate with any investigations, etc.

Buried in that policy is this: “Personal use of CCC computing resources for other purposes is permitted [emphasis mine] when it does not consume a significant amount of those resources, does not interfere with the performance of the user’s job or other CCC responsibilities, and is otherwise in compliance with this policy.”

So, going to a gambling site? Not responsible use (law breaking); checking your NCAA bracket? Probably ok. Downloading bootleg porn movies? Nor responsible use; watching clips from last night’s Daily Show? Probably ok.

Questions or comments to the contrary are welcome, but the main point is that as long as you aren’t stoopid about using your equipment and follow common sense, you should be ok.

Later in the week, I’ll put up another post about the copyright thing mentioned at the meeting. That, too, is a bit of an overstatement of the reality, but I want to check a few things before commenting on that.