Acceptable Use of University Computing Facilities

1. Disclaimers

Lingnan University, through the Information Technology Services Centre (ITSC makes available to faculty, staff, students and others, computing facilities consisting of computer hardware, software, AV equipment and documentation, The use and operation of these facilities is subject to the following disclaimers.

i.  Every effort is made by ITSC staff to prevent loss of data in the event of hardware or software failure or through human error. This is done by making regular backup copies of data stored on the University servers to magnetic tape or other media. It must be recognized, however, that in rare cases it may not be possible to restore the latest version of every data file from these backups, and some data loss may occur. Because these cases are outside ITSC staff's control, the University cannot be held liable for any loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the failure of hardware, software, or from human error.

ii.  Because the goals of the University are educational in nature, computer systems are generally open to perusal and investigation by users, and security controls may be less restrictive than they would be in other environments. Although an appropriate effort is made to maintain system security, unauthorized access to information is possible through malicious mischief. The University cannot guarantee against loss of privacy, theft of information, damage, or loss of data arising directly or indirectly from the absence or failure of system security protection mechanisms.

iii.  Most of the software used in the University is purchased or licensed from third-party vendors, usually without source code. This limits ITSC staff's ability to repair bugs in this software, or to modify the software. In many cases, several software packages of similar purpose are provided in an attempt to serve a broader range of needs. However, the University can make no warranty, express or implied, regarding the computing services offered or their fitness for any particular purpose.

2. User Rights and Responsibilities

Lingnan University, through the Information Technology Services Centre (ITSC makes available to faculty, staff, students and others, computing facilities consisting of computer hardware, software, AV equipment and documentation, The use and operation of these facilities is subject to the following disclaimers.

i.  Providing false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining access to Lingnan University IT/AV facilities is a violation of University policy.

ii.  Each user is responsible for any and all activities initiated in or on Lingnan University IT/AV facilities by his or her account.

iii.  Users are responsible for selecting a secure password for their account and for keeping that password secret at all times. Passwords should not be written down, stored on-line, or given to any other people. Users are responsible to change it regularly. Users should not share their password with any other person(s).

iv.  Users are responsible for protecting their own files and data from reading and/or writing by other users. Users are responsible for picking up their printer output in a timely fashion to avoid theft or disposal.

v.  Users are urged to report any system security violation, or suspected system security violation, to ITSC staff immediately.

vi.  Most University IT/IS/AV facilities are made available on an unmonitored basis. It is the responsibility of every user to act in such a manner as to not cause damage to the physical equipment. Accidental damage, or damage caused by other parties, should be reported to the ITSC staff as soon as possible so that corrective action can be taken.

vii.  Users who borrow hardware, software, AV equipment or documentation from ITSC are responsible for its proper care and for returning it in a timely fashion.

viii.  Users are responsible for obeying all official notices posted in computer laboratories and attached to University IT/AV equipment, or displayed in the electronic bulletin board.

ix.  Users must not configure any University computer as a network server of any kind.

x.  Users must not install and use any hacking/cracking software on University computers connected to the Campus network.

xi.  The University's IT, IS and AV facilities are provided for academic use (education and research) plus administrative use. Students are not allowed to use the name or facilities of the University in any commercial activities except with authorization of the University.

Commercial activities are only permitted for business done on behalf of the University, not for the benefit of private individuals or other organizations without authorization.

For example, you are:

  • Not permitted to run a private electronic business on the campus network,
  • Not allowed to use the University's name, email or web-addresses in any commercial activities as this may suggest or imply the University's endorsement of other organizations, their products, or services,
  • Only allowed to conduct fundraising or advertising on the campus network under the supervision of officially recognized campus organizations.

3. Lingnan University's Rights and Responsibilities

i.  ITSC staff are empowered by Lingnan University, with or without prior notification, to remove files that are not related to ITSC missions or which are consuming large amounts of disk space and making the computer systems unstable.

ii.  As problems related to network security, performance and/or availability,the University reserves the right to suppress any kind of Internet application service, such as ICQ, Napster, Kaaza, WinMX, FTP, NNTP, WinVNC, Remote Access or Internet games, etc. without any prior consent and further notice.

iii.  ITSC has the responsibility to notify users, in advance, of any network or systems maintenance schedule for both preventive and emergency maintenance.

iv.  In emergency cases, ITSC staff are authorized to temporarily suspend the access of user accounts.

v.  ITSC staff may terminate connected login sessions that have been idling (unused) for long periods of time, in order to free up resources. This applies particularly to limited resources such as dial-in connections. The definition of a "long period" of time may vary from system to system, depending on resource availability.

4. The Network

i.  Network facilities are provided to alumni, students and legitimate users of Lingnan University resources. Users having rights to access network resources do not imply they can transfer the rights to others, unless the University explicitly approves it. For example, users are not allowed to:

a.  Disclose or share their computer account with others.

b.  Allow unauthorized users to access the network via the user's own machine.
Users should be considerate when using the Internet to transmit/receive large files (e.g. multimedia files). Efforts should be made to locate files at local sites and perform outside normal office hours

ii.  Network objects (data, program, information) not particularly locked or protected by the system do not imply that they can be altered, deleted or manipulated.

iii.  Network users who access the Internet also access the Hong Kong Academic and Research Network (HARNET), so that users must also abide by the rules as laid down by the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC). Use of the HARNET shall conform to the following principles:

  • Avoid interfering with the work of other users on the network.
  • Avoid disrupting the network host systems (nodes).
  • Avoid disrupting network services.
  • Avoid violating any applicable laws and regulations governing access to systems, information and data on the HARNET and the Internet, and transmission of information and data through the HARNET and the Internet.

The following guidelines are set for HARNET users according to the mentioned principles of acceptable use of the network in particular cases:

a.  HARNET is not to be used for commercial purposes, such as marketing or business transactions between commercial organizations.

b.  Commercial advertising is forbidden. Discussion of a product's relative advantages and disadvantages by users of the product is encouraged. Vendors may respond publicly to questions about their products as long as the responses are not in the nature of advertising.

c.  A user is not allowed to transfer or resell the network resource, which has been allocated by a JUCC member institution or a HARNET participating affiliated organization, in various possible forms, such as network bandwidth and connection time, access rights, computer budget, etc.

d.  Any waste of network resources is unacceptable, e.g. repetitive retrieval of copies of the same files by a user who does not keep a copy on his own system.

e.  Activities which will interfere with the intended use, cause congestion or impair the healthy state of the network are unacceptable and prohibited. Experiments on the network which will lead to exhaustively flooding its available bandwidth should be avoided.

f.  Irresponsible use of electronic mail, e.g. chain letters, broadcasting messages, and the use of other network communications to harass or offend other users of the network are prohibited.

g.  Research and experimentation on the network should be carried out with great caution. Negligence in the conduct which will lead to contrary of the aforementioned guidelines is irresponsible and unacceptable.

h.  Users of HARNET must not compromise the confidentiality and privacy of other users of the network and the integrity of data and information mounted on or transmitted through the network. A breach of these principles is generally considered a legal offence. Unauthorized reading, altering, intercepting of, electronic eavesdropping on, any network communications over the network or data kept on systems on the network are examples of violation of these principles.

i.  Any communication which violates applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to those related to copyright, data privacy and transmission of obscene and indecent materials, is not allowed. Final authority for HARNET Acceptable Use Policy lies with the JUCC Steering Committee. It is the responsibility of HARNET Member representatives to contact the JUCC Steering Committee, in writing, regarding questions of interpretation. Until such issues are resolved, questionable use should be considered "not acceptable".

5. Email

i.  Users should NOT propagate emails such as chain letters and junk email; users should NOT send inappropriate or irrelevant email to a large group of recipients without prior authority. Typical emails considered as inappropriate are:

  • Advertisement
  • Lost and found
  • Announcement of student activities
  • Survey and questionnaire

ii.  Email should be sent with the email address assigned by the ITSC/Lingnan University. Sending email in the name of others (fake mail) and/or using anonymous mail is considered as acts of dishonesty and could lead to serious disciplinary actions.

iii.  No email message should be created or sent that may constitute intimidating, hostile, offensive material or related to private electronic business running on the campus network on the basis of sex, race, colour, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. The University Policy against sexual or other harassment applies fully to the email system, and any violation of that policy is grounds for discipline up to and including discharge.

iv.  Emails should always be written with proper language and observe common courtesy. Users should not use bad language or harass the recipient.

v.  Users should not send emails in the name of Lingnan email addresses or utilise web addresses for any commercial activities.

6 Software Copyrights and Licenses

i.  Hong Kong has appropriate copyright and patent laws, which govern the use of software and other intellectual properties. Users   should ensure that all the software (data files inclusive) they install and use does not violate such laws and policies. In particular, users should note the following:

All software installed into individual machines must carry valid and appropriate license. This applies not just in offices but also in laboratories, open areas and in hostels.

Users should not copy the software from the campus network and install into other machines without obtaining appropriate licenses.

Users should not distribute software if they do not have the right to do so.

7 Enforcement

i.  Depending on the seriousness of the offence, one or more of the following actions could be taken:

  1. Warning will be given to the user.
  2. Problematic programs/process will be stopped or be removed from the system.
  3. Problematic machines will be isolated from network until the problem is rectified.
  4. User accounts and computer will be suspended from accessing the network for a specified period as determined by ITSC.

ii.  For offence against the law of Hong Kong, ITSC will:

  1. Cooperate with Hong Kong Government and other network administrators for the investigation.
  2. Impose necessary penalties, including suspension of access to all computing and networking facilities.
  3. Take further action as is deemed necessary.

8 Related Laws, Policies and Regulations

i.  The following are the laws related to computer crimes:

  • Telecommunication Ordinance regarding unauthorized access to a computer.
  • Crimes Ordinance regarding damaging computer files and data.
  • Theft Ordinance regarding misuses of computers.
  • Copyright laws regarding the use and distribution of software.

ii.  The Laws of Hong Kong governing the pornographic and indecent materials also apply to files stored in electronic forms. Illegal storage and distribution of such materials is a criminal offense.

iii.  Infractions such as sharing accounts or passwords, using ITSC facilities for commercial purpose, forging e-mail or electronic message; harassment, sending massive number of un-solicited e-mails, also known as spamming, or repeated minor infractions as described above, will result in temporary loss of ITSC access privileges for at least ONE month.