Acceptable Use Policy

Executive Summary

This document sets out the conditions under which access to the network and computing resources at IIT Madras are granted to users. This covers all services and resources provided through the institute (either through the Centre for Computing Resources or through any individual department). (Note: This document is subject to revision without advance notice. For the latest version, please refer to the policy document present on the Computer Centre website at http://www.cc.iitm.ac.in/).

Anyone who needs to use computing or network resources / equipment through the IIT Madras system must agree to the conditions of this policy. If you do not agree with any provisions of this document, please inform the system administrators of the Computer Centre and stop using any access facilities provided through the CC until the problems are resolved.

The main points may be summarized as follows:

  1. The laws of the Government of India with regard to use of devices and technology are the ultimate authority in case of dispute. The policy matters discussed in this document are meant as guidelines and are subject to interpretation in light of the laws.
  2. The primary usage of resources is for academic purposes. In case of any conflict of interest, academic usage will be given priority over non-academic requirements.
  3. Each individual is given a login account for this purpose. Using this account, they can authorize access either to network or other resources. They are then responsible for any use of these resources, including any malicious or illegal material that may result.
    1. Protect this account. Sharing your password with any other person, even friend or family member, will still mean problems are traced back to your account.
  4. The use of another person’s account, with or without permission, is not allowed under any circumstances, and may result in both users accounts being suspended.
  5. Public access machines, such as those found in laboratories, are not to be used for downloading or storing any material that may be objectionable to any other user.
  6. Sharing or hosting material that is objectionable or illegal in any form is not permitted, and will attract appropriate penalties, up to and including disciplinary action from the institute or referral to cyber-crime authorities. Any legal issues resulting from such misuse will be solely the responsibility of the individual concerned.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the acceptable use of computer equipment at IIT Madras. These rules are in place to protect the employee and IIT Madras. Inappropriate use exposes IIT Madras to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues.

Scope

This policy applies to students, employees, contractors, consultants, temporaries, and other workers at IIT Madras, including faculty, staff, project associates, and all personnel affiliated with third parties. This policy applies to all equipment that is owned or leased by IIT Madras, and also to any privately owned equipment that may be connected to the network services provided by IIT Madras.

Policy

General Use and Ownership

  1. While IIT Madras's network administration desires to provide a reasonable level of privacy, users should be aware that the responsibility for maintaining security or confidentiality of any material stored on equipment remains with the users themselves. Because of the need to protect IIT Madras's network, the computer centre management cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information stored on any network device belonging to IIT Madras.
  2. All users of the campus network are responsible for exercising good judgment regarding the reasonableness of personal use. Individual departments may create guidelines concerning personal use of Internet/Intranet/Extranet systems. In the absence of such policies, users should be guided by Institute policies on personal use (as determined by the Computer Centre), and if there is any uncertainty, users should consult their department computer facilities administrator or the Computer Centre administration.
    1. In cases where department computers connect to computers or network equipment in other departments or the computer centre, the policies of the computer centre will be applicable.
  3. For security and network maintenance purposes, authorized individuals within IIT Madras Computer Centre may monitor equipment, systems and network traffic at any time.
  4. IIT Madras reserves the right to audit networks and systems on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with this policy.

Security and Proprietary Information

  1. Keep passwords secure and do not share accounts. Authorized users are responsible for the security of their passwords and accounts. It is recommended that system level passwords should be changed quarterly, user level passwords should be changed every six months.
  2. All PCs, laptops and workstations should be secured with a password-protected screensaver with the automatic activation feature set at 10 minutes or less, or by logging-off when the host will be unattended.
  3. All equipment placed in public locations, such as department DCFs, are for general use, and CC cannot guarantee that such machines are free of viruses or other malicious software. Users are expected to take adequate precautions, and to delete all personal information before logging out of these machines.
    1. Hosting any files or material for download by others is not acceptable.
  4. Postings by students or employees from a email address to newsgroups should contain a disclaimer stating that the opinions expressed are strictly their own and not necessarily those of IIT Madras, unless posting is in the course of business duties.
  5. All hosts used by the user that are connected to the IIT Madras Internet/Intranet/Extranet, whether owned by the user or IIT Madras, shall be continually executing approved virus-scanning software with a current virus database unless overridden by departmental or group policy.
  6. Users must use caution when opening e-mail attachments received from unknown senders, which may contain viruses, e-mail bombs, or Trojan horse code.

Unacceptable Use

The following activities are, in general, prohibited. Employees may be exempted from these restrictions during the course of their legitimate job responsibilities (e.g., systems administration staff may have a need to disable the network access of a host if that host is disrupting production services). Under no circumstances is a user of the IIT Madras network resources authorized to engage in any activity that is illegal under local, state, central or international law while utilizing IIT Madras-owned resources.

The lists below are by no means exhaustive, but attempt to provide a framework for activities which fall into the category of unacceptable use.

System and Network Activities

The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:

  1. Violations of the rights of any person or company protected by copyright, trade secret, patent or other intellectual property, or similar laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the installation or distribution of "pirated" or other software products that are not appropriately licensed for use by IIT Madras.
  2. Unauthorized copying of copyrighted material including, but not limited to, digitization and distribution of photographs from magazines, books or other copyrighted sources, copyrighted music, and the installation of any copyrighted software for which IIT Madras or the end user does not have an active license is strictly prohibited.
  3. Possessing or distributing material that may be considered to be in violation of the privacy or other rights of any individual. Decisions on objectionable nature of material will be made by a suitably constituted and empowered committee.
  4. Exporting software, technical information, encryption software or technology, in violation of international or regional export control laws, is illegal. The appropriate management should be consulted prior to export of any material that is in question.
  5. Introduction of malicious programs into the network or server (e.g., viruses, worms, Trojan horses, e-mail bombs, etc.).
  6. Revealing your account password to others or allowing use of your account by others. This includes family and other household members when work is being done at home.
  7. Using a IIT Madras computing asset to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws in the user's local jurisdiction.
  8. Making fraudulent offers of products, items, or services originating from any IIT Madras account.
  9. Making statements about warranty, expressly or implied, unless it is a part of normal job duties.
  10. Effecting security breaches or disruptions of network communication. Security breaches include, but are not limited to, accessing data of which the employee is not an intended recipient or logging into a server or account that the employee is not expressly authorized to access, unless these duties are within the scope of regular duties. For purposes of this section, "disruption" includes, but is not limited to, network sniffing, pinged floods, packet spoofing, denial of service, and forged routing information for malicious purposes.
  11. Port scanning or security scanning is expressly prohibited unless prior notification to the Computer Centre, IIT Madras is made.
  12. Executing any form of network monitoring which will intercept data not intended for the employee's host, unless this activity is a part of the employee's normal job/duty.
  13. Circumventing user authentication or security of any host, network or account.
  14. Interfering with or denying service to any user other than the employee's host (for example, denial of service attack).
  15. Using any program/script/command, or sending messages of any kind, with the intent to interfere with, or disable, a user's terminal session, via any means, locally or via the Internet/Intranet/Extranet.

Email and Communications Activities

  1. Forwarding email messages from mailing lists hosted on the IIT Madras campus network to any outsiders or third parties without explicit consent of the original poster of the email. If such emails are to be forwarded, all members of the affected mailing list shall also be made aware of this.
  2. Any form of harassment via email, telephone or paging, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
  3. Sending unsolicited email messages, including the sending of "junk mail" or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material (email spam).
  4. Unauthorized use, or forging, of email header information.
  5. Solicitation of email for any other email address, other than that of the poster's account, with the intent to harass or to collect replies.
  6. Creating or forwarding "chain letters", "Ponzi" or other "pyramid" schemes of any type.
  7. Use of unsolicited email originating from within IIT Madras's networks of other Internet/Intranet/Extranet service providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by IIT Madras or connected via IIT Madras's network.
  8. Posting the same or similar non-business-related messages to large numbers of Usenet newsgroups (newsgroup spam).

Blogging

  1. Blogging by students or employees, whether using IIT Madras’s property and systems or personal computer systems, is also subject to the terms and restrictions set forth in this Policy. Limited and occasional use of IIT Madras’s systems to engage in blogging is acceptable, provided that it is done in a professional and responsible manner, does not otherwise violate IIT Madras’s policy, is not detrimental to IIT Madras’s best interests, and does not interfere with an employee's regular work duties. Blogging from IIT Madras’s systems is also subject to monitoring.
  2. IIT Madras’s Confidential Information policy also applies to blogging. As such, Students or Employees are prohibited from revealing any IIT Madras confidential or proprietary information, trade secrets or any other material covered by IIT Madras’s Confidential Information policy when engaged in blogging.
  3. Students and Employees shall not engage in any blogging that may harm or tarnish the image, reputation and/or goodwill of IIT Madras and/or any of its students and employees.
    1. This includes making any discriminatory, defamatory or harassing comments when blogging.
  4. Students and Employees may also not attribute personal statements, opinions or beliefs to IIT Madras when engaged in blogging. If a student or employee is expressing his or her beliefs and/or opinions in blogs, the employee may not, expressly or implicitly, represent themselves as an employee or representative of IIT Madras. Students and Employees assume any and all risk associated with blogging. 

Apart from following all laws pertaining to the handling and disclosure of copyrighted or export controlled materials, IIT Madras’s trademarks, logos and any other IIT Madras intellectual property may also not be used in connection with any blogging activity

Enforcement

Any student found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of their enrolment in a program at IIT Madras. All decisions with regard to actions will be subject to the Disciplinary Committee, IIT Madras.

Any employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of their employment at IIT Madras.

Terms

  1. Computer Centre: The staff and facilities provided by the P. G. Senapathy Centre for Computing Resources, as well as supplementary help provided by the Departmental Computing Facilities and Administrators (DCFs / DCAs).
  2. User: Any person or resident of the IIT Madras campus (faculty, staff, student, or families thereof) who makes use of facilities provided by the Computer Centre.
    1. Student: Any person currently enrolled in a degree-granting program at IIT Madras, and making use of IIT Madras based on their enrolment in the program.
    2. Employee: Any person currently employed either directly by IIT Madras (eg.: faculty, administrative and technical staff), or through a project coordinated at IIT Madras (project associates, assistants, technicians etc.). This also includes any persons employed by outside agencies but making use of computing or network resources provided by IIT Madras.
  3. Disciplinary Committee: A committee constituted by the appropriate authorities at IIT Madras, with the power to make final decisions on all issues related to the acceptability of actions of an individual.
    1. There will be separate committees to address issues relating to the student community and those of other employees and residents.
  4. Network Access: Access to the IIT Madras intranet as well as the global Internet by means of wired (ethernet or ADSL) or wireless (WiFi) connection, either directly by connecting to a port / access point provided by IIT Madras, or through a port / access point installed by other users.
  5. Equipment: Any computing resource (server, workstation, tablet computer, mobile phone or other equipment capable of accessing the network), or any networking equipment that enables such connectivity (Wireless router, access point, wired ethernet port, ADSL modem etc.).
  6. Blogging: Writing a blog. A blog (short for weblog) is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. For the purposes of this policy, this will be extended to cover personal posts made by an individual on any public site, including (but not limited to) Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other similar sites.
  7. Spam: Unauthorized and/or unsolicited electronic mass mailings.