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Responsible Use: Ethics in Computer Usage


Effective: March 1995

This policy is also known as the "Computer Usage Policy."

Everyone within the University of Virginia community who uses University computing and communications facilities has the responsibility to use them in an ethical, professional and legal manner. This means that users agree to abide by the following conditions:

  • The integrity of the systems must be respected. This means that users of systems will not divulge passwords, pins, private keys or similar elements to anyone else, and they will not exploit sessions left open or otherwise misappropriate or steal the "identity" of another user.
  • Privacy of other users must not be intruded upon at any time.
  • Users must recognize that certain data are confidential and must limit their access to such data to uses in direct performance of their duties.
  • The rules and regulations governing the use of facilities and equipment must be respected. Persons responsible for computing devices connected to the network will ensure that those devices are maintained in a secure state in accord with related policy.
  • No one shall obtain unauthorized access to other users' accounts and files.
  • The intended use of all accounts, typically for university research, instruction and administrative purposes, must be respected.
  • Commercial use is prohibited.
  • Users shall become familiar with and abide by the guidelines for appropriate usage for the systems and networks that they access.

Access to University computing and communications equipment and facilities may be revoked for reasons including, but not limited to, attacking the security of the system, modifying or divulging private information such as file or mail contents of other users without their consent, modifying or destroying University data, or using the national networks in a manner contrary to the established guidelines. Revocation of access may be done at any time by University system administrators in order to safeguard University resources and protect University privileges.

If abuse of computer systems occurs, those responsible for such abuse will be held accountable and may be subject to disciplinary action.

For further information on responsible computer use, students should read the Responsible Computing Handbook for Students. Faculty and staff should read the Responsible Computing Handbook for Faculty and Staff.

Revisions: April 2009, May 2003, July 1996