Technology Policy

The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science provide faculty, staff, and students access to computer resources through the Network servers and cloud services. faculty, staff, and students using these resources must adhere to all policies of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science, as well as the Alabama Research and Education Network. Prohibited behaviors/activities are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination and prosecution (where applicable). These activities include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

Illegal Activity

  • Uploading or downloading copyrighted material, violating the intellectual property rights of others, or illegally sharing trade secrets. This includes any type of media files such as movies or music. Accessing, downloading, or printing out articles solely for educational and research purposes, however, may be permissible under the fair use clause of the copyright law.
  • Illegally sharing computer software via Internet, the local network, personal storage or any other media.
  • Copying or transmitting material contained in copyrighted databases such as Infotrac, without permission from the source.
  • Buying or selling weapons or illegal substances via computer network.
  • Threatening, harassing or “stalking” others via computer network.
  • Knowingly replicating or transmitting computer viruses, or otherwise deliberately damaging the systems or files of other people.

Strictly Prohibited Behaviors/Activities

  • Trafficking in pornography of any kind via Internet, the local network, URLs, personal storage or any other media.
  • Activity that violates state or federal law. This may include viewing, downloading, posting, printing or sending pornography, or other sexually explicit, profane, obscene, hostile, or blatantly offensive and intimidating material, including hate speech, threats, harassing communications (as defined by law), or information that violates any state or federal laws.
  • “Spam,” the practice of indiscriminately sending unsolicited email (e.g., commercial advertisements, chain mail, pornographic materials, political lobbying, hate speech, racial diatribes, and religious proselytizing) or signing up for listservs and unwanted accounts to persons who have not indicated interest in receiving such materials.
  • “Hacking” or “Cracking”, i.e., deliberately invading the privacy of others by attempting to gain unauthorized access to any account or system. This also includes unauthorized port scanning or running vulnerability detection software on school’s network to find security loopholes.
  • Obtaining/distributing confidential information. Deliberately and inappropriately observing, recording, accessing, using or transmitting passwords, account numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, or credit card numbers belonging to other people is prohibited.
  • Downloading executable programs, which might interject computer viruses into computers, is generally prohibited. Further guidance with regard to safe sites and appropriate downloads should be sought from the IT department (the school takes no responsibility for damage to your work or your own equipment resulting from viruses or files you might download via the Internet.)
  • Using School equipment, including the School’s Internet, Network, servers or web pages, for commercial gain.
  • Unauthorized wiring, altering or damaging of School-owned computer equipment, including hardware and software.
  • The use of software, modems or any other devices to circumvent the School’s network.

Alabama Research and Education Network Acceptable Use Policy

The Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN) comply with the following Acceptable Use Policy. All users of School network facilities are obligated to adhere to its terms.

Overview

The Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN) is a state-wide network administered by the Alabama Supercomputer Authority (ASA). The purpose of this policy is to provide a definition for acceptable use by authorized users of AREN and to indicate recommended action if the policy is violated. In those cases when information is transmitted across regional networks or Internet, AREN users are advised that acceptable use policies of those networks apply and may limit access.

ASA Primary Goals

The Alabama Supercomputer Authority has been established to:

  • Enhance university research in Alabama
  • Attract and support high technology industry
  • Expand knowledge and use of computational science AREN Acceptable Use Policy
  • All use of AREN must be consistent with ASA’s primary goals
  • AREN is for the use of individuals legitimately affiliated with member organizations, to facilitate the exchange of information consistent with the academic, educational and research purposes of its member organizations.
  • It is not acceptable to use AREN for illegal purposes
  • It is not acceptable to use AREN to transmit threatening, obscene, or harassing materials
  • Access to the Internet is provided through an ASA statewide contract with a regional network provider. The contract allows ASA to grant access to the Internet to any governmental, educational and industrial entity through AREN. Charges may be assessed by ASA to facilitate network connectivity. Reselling of the Internet connectivity and services is prohibited.
  • It is not acceptable to use AREN to interfere with or disrupt network users, services or equipment. Disruptions include, but are not limited to, disruption by unsolicited advertising, propagation of computer worms or viruses, and using the network to make unauthorized entry to any other machine accessible via the network
  • Information and resources accessible through AREN are private to the individuals and organizations which own or hold rights to those resources and information unless specifically stated otherwise by the owners or holders of rights. It is therefore not acceptable for an individual to use AREN to access information or resources unless permission is granted by the owners or holders of rights to those resources or information

Violation of Policy

  • All organizations authorized to access AREN are responsible for informing their users of this acceptable use policy. All users of AREN are required to follow the acceptable use guidelines, both in letter and spirit.
  • ASA reserves the right to monitor and review all traffic on AREN for potential violations of this policy. Violations of policy that are not promptly remedied by individuals and member institutions may result in termination of access to AREN. Final authority for the determination of violation of the AREN Acceptable Use Policy and subsequent penalty rests with the ASA Board of Directors. It is the responsibility of member representatives to contact ASA, in writing, regarding questions of interpretation. Until such issues are resolved, questionable use should be considered “not acceptable.”

Software

The reproduction and use of computer software on School equipment or by School employees or students in pursuit of School business or instruction shall be in accordance with the copyright law (as set forth in Title 17, United States Code) and the manufacturer’s condition of sale. Specifically:

  • No School employee or student shall reproduce or allow the reproduction of software in violation of copyright law or the conditions of sale
  • No School employee or student shall accept or use software which is not known to be provided in accordance with the copyright law or conditions of sale
  • It is the individual responsibility of each user to determine that the use of the software is in accord with this policy.
Guidelines

The policy stated above applies to:

  • the use of copyrighted or licensed software by School departments and employees on School equipment
  • the use of software purchased with School funds on non-School equipment
  • the use of software for instructional purposes.

The School interprets the copyright laws and manufacturers’ terms of sale as described below:

  • Back-up copies: You may make as many backup copies as are necessary to protect your software in the event your original fails. Such copies are NOT to be used simultaneously on another machine. The law permits you to make such backup copies even if the manufacturer does not provide you a process to make one.
  • Multiple-loading or booting from one disk into multiple machines at the same time: You may not simultaneously load one copy of a copyrighted program into a number of different machines, even if it is physically possible. Although you may use your legal copy in different machines at different times (so that you are only using one copy at a time), you may not permit multiple concurrent uses of the package. It would be legal to load and run it on one computer, turn the computer off, and then run it on another computer. For example, WordPerfect is sold for use on one computer, but it is possible to sequentially load it into a number of different computers and then run them at the same time. This is a clear violation of the law; you have caused the “proliferation of simultaneous users” (the legal term for this process). The fact that it is physically possible is irrelevant.
  • Networks: The concept of “proliferation of simultaneous users” also applies to networks. Unless you purchased the software with an explicit “network license”, downloading the program to multiple stations at the same time violates the copyright law. As in the preceding example, the fact that it is physically possible to download the software on your network is irrelevant.
Instructional Responsibilities

Academic departments and individual course instructors should take measures to ensure that students are informed of the legal and ethical issues regarding software copyrighting, as well as School policy on this matter. As a minimum, departments should:

  • post the School policy regarding software copying in a conspicuous location adjacent to any departmental microcomputers which may be accessible to students
  • read and explain the School policy in any classes using microcomputers.
Use of Software in Course Work

Departments and individual faculty are responsible for insuring that any copyrighted software made accessible to students be done so in accordance with School policy and all legal requirements. Specifically, faculty shall be careful to respect the following points:

  • Neither departments nor faculty shall impose requirements which would encourage students to copy software in violation of School policy. Instructors shall not make assignments without verifying that a sufficient quantity of legal copies of the software will be readily accessible to students for the completion of course assignments.
  • Difficulty or expense involved in acquiring sufficient copies does not constitute a reason for violating School policy.
  • Any copyrighted software made accessible to students shall bear the following statement conspicuously placed on both documentation and physical media:

This software is issued subject to School policy and may not be copied for any purpose whatsoever. Violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary or legal action.

Monitoring and Tracking

All computer use at ASMS is subject to monitoring, tracking, and, when necessary, examining. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Installing filters to protect students’ exposure to inappropriate sites
  • Maintaining a historical tracking of students use
  • Searching a personal computer when there is evidence or suspicion of misuse or infraction
  • Viewing or inspecting any file, transmission or programs on personal computers.

Antivirus/Antispyware Software

Antivirus software is provided on all computers owned by ASMS. Additionally, this software is provided to students at no charge for as long as they remain a student at ASMS. This antivirus software MUST be used. The student may use other software in addition to the AV software provided by the school as long as it does not interfere with its operation.

Wireless Networks

ASMS has a wireless network with “hotspots” around campus and in classrooms. The use of any other wireless routers or network devices is prohibited without prior approval.

Policy

  • Wireless users must follow all network connection policies as set forth in the School Computer Use Policy.
  • Interference or disruption of other authorized communications that result from the intentional or incidental misuse or misapplication of wireless network radio frequency spectrum is prohibited.
  • The ASMS Wireless Network is not intended as a replacement for the campus wired network. Users of the wireless network are discouraged from running high bandwidth applications on the wireless network.
  • Users of ASMS’s computing resources must not acquire, possess, trade, or use hardware or software tools that could be employed to evaluate or compromise information systems security at ASMS.

Summary

All persons using the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science computing and telecommunication resources must comply with the Computer Use Policy. The policy applies to all computer workstations, servers, network devices, software, databases, and related equipment accessed directly or indirectly through the Internet. ASMS encourages authorized users to make acceptable use of computer resources, consistent with its educational, research, and service-related mission. Users must also comply with all applicable federal and state laws and School regulations regarding intellectual property, including federal copyright law, and with all applicable licenses or contracts regarding the use of software. In situations where access to computer resources is limited, priority use of these resources must be granted to educational and research-related activities. Recreational and personal use of School computer resources is permitted only to a limited extent and only when they are not needed for educational research activities. Certain uses of School computer resources are never permitted. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • interfering with the operation of the School’s computer and telecommunications systems including “hacking” or “cracking;”
  • altering or damaging computer hardware or software;
  • using unauthorized passwords or circumventing system security;
  • broadcasting unsolicited messages (“spamming”);
  • invading the privacy of another person;
  • using School resources for personal, commercial or financial purposes;
  • viewing and/or possessing, downloading, printing or sending distasteful, lewd obscene, threatening, offensive, harassing, insulting, discriminatory or rude pictures or other material. (Material received inadvertently via email should be reported then deleted.);
  • downloading of copyrighted music, video or other large files that could disrupt the normal operation of the network; and
  • Sharing pirated music, video or other programs or files with users on the ASMS network or on the internet through peer-to-peer programs or any other method of sharing pirated media.

The ASMS IT department reserves the right to monitor, access, retrieve, read, and/or disclose communications through the School networks at the President’s request when there is reasonable cause to suspect criminal activity or policy violation, or monitoring is required by law, regulation, as appropriate under federal and state privacy laws and regulations.

The foregoing is a summary of key points of the official ASMS Computer Use Policy. Violation of the terms of the policy can result in denial of privileges, and other penalties. If there are any differences between this summary and the official policy, the terms of the policy shall supersede this summary.