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Regulations For The Use Of Computer Facilities – Bath Spa University

These regulations give you examples and specific situations to help you consider how to use IT facilities.

Where a list of examples is given, these are just some of the most common instances, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

Where the terms similar to Authority, Authorised, Approved or Approval appear, they refer to authority or approval originating from the person or body identified in section 3, Authority or anyone with authority delegated to them by that person or body.

1. Scope

1.1. Users

These regulations apply to anyone using Bath Spa University's IT facilities. This means more than students and staff. It could include, for example:

  • External partners, contractors and agents based on-site and using Bath Spa University's network, or off-site and accessing the institution’s systems
  • Tenants of the institution using the University’s computers, servers or network
  • Visitors using the institution’s WiFi
  • Students and staff from other institutions logging on using eduroam.

1.2. IT Facilities

The term 'IT Facilities' includes:

  • IT hardware that Bath Spa University provides, such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones, printers, and audio-visual display and recording equipment in lecture theatres and public areas
  • Software that the institution provides, such as operating systems, office application software, web browsers etc. It also includes software that the institution has arranged for you to have access to, for example special deals for students on commercial application packages.
  • Data that Bath Spa University provides, or arranges access to, including online journals, data sets or citation databases
  • Access to the network provided or arranged by the institution, such as network connections in halls of residence, on-campus WiFi, connectivity to the internet from University PCs
  • Online services arranged by the institution such as Office 365 and Google Apps, JSTOR, Panopto or any of the Jisc online resources
  • IT credentials, such as the use of your institutional login, or any other token (email address, smartcard, dongle) issued by Bath Spa University to identify yourself when using IT facilities. For example, you may be able to use drop-in facilities or WiFi connectivity at other institutions using your usual username and password through the Eduroam system. While doing so, you are subject to these regulations, as well as the regulations at the institution you are visiting.

2. Governance

It is helpful to remember that using IT has consequences in the physical world.

Your use of IT is governed by IT-specific laws and regulations (such as these), but it is also subject to general laws and regulations such as your institution’s general policies.

2.1. Domestic Law

Your behaviour is subject to the laws of the land, even those that are not apparently related to IT such as the laws on fraud, theft and harassment.

There are many items of legislation that are particularly relevant to the use of IT, including:

Bath Spa University has a statutory duty, under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, termed “PREVENT”. The PREVENT duty requires us to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. So, for example, you may not:

  • Create, download, store or transmit, unlawful material, or material that is indecent, obscene, offensive, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or extremist
  • Create or transmit material:
    • with the intent to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety
    • with the intent to defraud
    • which is defamatory
    • which infringes the copyright of another person or organisation
  • You may not create or transmit unsolicited bulk or marketing material to users of networked facilities or services, except where it is embedded within, or is otherwise part of, a service to which the user or their user organisation has chosen to subscribe
  • Deliberately (and without authorisation) access networked facilities or services.

An excellent set of overviews of law relating to IT use is available online.

2.2. Foreign Law

If you are using services that are hosted in a different part of the world, you may also be subject to their laws. It can be difficult to know where any particular service is hosted from, and what the applicable laws are in that locality.

In general, if you apply common sense, obey domestic laws and the regulations of the service you are using, you are unlikely to go astray.

2.3. General Institutional Regulations

You should already be familiar with Bath Spa University's general regulations and policies and the Student General Regulations (.pdf).

2.4. Third Party Regulations

If you use Bath Spa University's IT facilities to access third party services or resources, you are bound by the regulations associated with that service or resource. (The association can be through something as simple as using your institutional username and password).

Very often, these regulations will be presented to you the first time you use the service, but in some cases the service is so pervasive that you will not even know that you are using it.

Two examples of this would be:

  1. Using Janet, the IT network that connects all UK higher education and research institutions together and to the Internet. When connecting to any site outside of Bath Spa University you will be using Janet, and subject to the Janet Acceptable Use Policy,  the Janet Security Policy, and the Janet Eligibility Policy. The requirements of these policies have been incorporated into these regulations, so if you abide by these regulations you should not infringe the Janet policies.
  2. Using Chest agreements: Eduserv is an organisation that has negotiated many deals for software and online resources on behalf of the UK higher education community, under the common banner of Chest agreements. These agreements have certain restrictions, that may be summarised as:
    1. non-academic use is not permitted
    2. copyright must be respected; privileges granted under Chest agreements must not be passed on to third parties and
    3. users must accept the User Acknowledgement of Third Party Rights. 

There will be other instances where Bath Spa University has provided you with a piece of software or a resource. Software and other resources must be used in compliance with all applicable licences, terms and conditions. If you need clarification, check with the IT Service Desk.  

3. Authority

These regulations are issued under the authority of the Vice Chancellor who is also responsible for their interpretation and enforcement, and who may also delegate such authority to other people.

Authority to use the institution’s IT facilities is granted by a variety of means:

  • The issue of a username and password or other IT credentials
  • The explicit granting of access rights to a specific system or resource
  • The provision of a facility in an obviously open access setting, such as an Institutional website; a self-service kiosk in a public area; or an open WiFi network on the campus.

If you have any doubt whether or not you have the authority to use an IT facility you should seek further advice from the IT Service Desk.

Attempting to use the IT facilities without the permission of the relevant authority is an offence under the Computer Misuse Act (1990).

4. Intended Use

4.1. Use for Purposes in Furtherance of Institution’s Mission

The IT facilities are provided for use in furtherance of the institution’s mission. Such use might be for learning, teaching, research, knowledge transfer, public outreach, the commercial activities of the institution, or the administration necessary to support all of the above.

4.2. Personal Use

You may currently use the IT facilities for personal use provided that it does not breach the regulations, and that it does not prevent or interfere with other people using the facilities for valid purposes (for example using a PC to update your Facebook page or play games when others are waiting to complete their assignments).

However, this is a concession and can be withdrawn at any time.

Employees using the IT facilities for non-work purposes during working hours are subject to the same management policies as for any other type of non-work activity. Please also note section 7.1 which describes the information we may collect about you and your computer use.

4.3. Commercial Use and Personal Gain

Use of IT facilities for non-institutional commercial purposes or for personal gain, such as running a club or society, requires the explicit approval of Vice Chancellor or her delegated authority (please contact the IT Service Desk in the first instance).

The provider of the service may require a fee or a share of the income for this type of use. Even with such approval, the use of licences under the Chest agreements for anything other than teaching, studying or research, administration or management purposes is prohibited, and you must ensure that licences allowing commercial use are in place.

5. Identity

Many of the IT services provided or arranged by the institution require you to identify yourself so that the service knows that you are entitled to use it.

This is most commonly done by providing you with a username and password, but other forms of IT credentials may be used, such as an email address, a smart card or some other form of security device.

5.1. Protect Identity

  • You must take all reasonable precautions to safeguard any IT credentials issued to you.
  • You must change passwords when first issued and at regular intervals as instructed.
  • Do not use obvious passwords, and do not record them where there is any likelihood of someone else finding them. Do not use the same password as you do for personal (i.e. non-institutional) accounts. Do not share passwords with anyone else, even IT staff, no matter how convenient and harmless it may seem. Guidance on setting passwords.
  • Do not use your username and password to log in to web sites or services you do not recognise, and do not log in to websites that are not showing the padlock symbol.
  • Do not leave logged in computers unattended, and log out properly when you are finished.
  • Don’t allow anyone else to use your smartcard or other security hardware. Take care not to lose them, and if you do, report the matter to IT immediately.
  • If you think someone else has found out what your password is, change it immediately and report the matter to IT Service Desk.

5.2. Impersonation

Never use someone else’s IT credentials, or attempt to disguise or hide your real identity when using the institution’s IT facilities. However, it is acceptable not to reveal your identity if the system or service clearly allows anonymous use (such as a public facing website).

5.3. Attempt to Compromise Others’ Identities

You must not attempt to usurp, borrow, corrupt or destroy someone else’s IT credentials.

6. Infrastructure

The IT infrastructure is all the underlying stuff that makes IT function. It includes servers, the network, PCs, printers, operating systems, databases and a whole host of other hardware and software that has to be set up correctly to ensure the reliable, efficient and secure delivery of IT services. You must not do anything to jeopardise the infrastructure.

6.1. Physical Damage or Risk of Damage

Do not damage, or do anything to risk physically damaging the infrastructure, such as being careless with food or drink at a PC, or playing football in a drop-in facility.

6.2. Reconfiguration

Do not attempt to change the setup of the infrastructure without authorisation, such as changing the network point that a PC is plugged in to, connecting devices to the network (except of course for WiFi or Ethernet networks specifically provided for this purpose) or altering the configuration of the institution’s PCs. Unless you have been authorised, you must not add software to or remove software from PCs. Do not move equipment without authority.

6.3. Network Extension

You must not extend the wired or WiFi network without authorization. Such activities, which may involve the use of routers, repeaters, hubs or WiFi access points, can disrupt the network and are likely to be in breach of the Janet Security Policy.

6.4. Setting up Servers

You must not set up any hardware or software that would provide a service to others over the network without permission. Examples would include games servers, file sharing services, IRC servers or web sites.

6.5. Introducing Malware

You must take all reasonable steps to avoid introducing malware to the infrastructure. The term malware covers many things such as viruses, ransomware, worms and Trojans, but is basically any software used to disrupt computer operation or subvert security. It is usually spread by visiting websites of a dubious nature, downloading files from untrusted sources, opening email attachments from people you do not know or inserting media that have been created on compromised computers. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and switched on, and run scans of your computer on a regular basis, you should not fall foul of this problem.

6.6. Subverting Security Measures

Bath Spa University has taken measures to safeguard the security of its IT infrastructure, including things such as anti-virus software, firewalls, spam filters and so on. You must not attempt to subvert or circumvent these measures in any way.

7. Information

7.1. Your Privacy and the data we collect

In using our services you share some information with us, which we use to comply with legislation and to provide and improve the services that we offer. Please refer to the IT Services Privacy Policy which explains what information we collect, why we collect it, how we use it and options you have to access and update that information. In addition, section 7.4 describes when it may be necessary for the institution to access your account.

7.2. Personal, Sensitive and Confidential Information

During the course of their work or studies, staff and students (particularly research students) may handle information that comes under the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679), or is sensitive or confidential in some other way. For the rest of this section, these will be grouped together as protected information.

Safeguarding the security of protected information is a highly complex issue, with organisational, technical and human aspects. The institution has policies on Data Protection and Information Governance, and if your role is likely to involve handling protected information, you must make yourself familiar with and abide by these policies. Expected behaviours and additional resources are available in the Information Governance resources (login required).

7.2.1. Transmission of Protected Information

When sending protected information electronically, you must use a method with appropriate security. Email is not inherently secure. Advice about how to send protected information electronically is available on the Information Governance pages (login required), or by contacting the IT Service Desk.

7.2.2. Removable Media and Mobile Devices

Protected information must not be stored on removable media (such as USB storage devices, removable hard drives, CDs, DVDs) or mobile devices (laptops, tablet or smartphones) unless it is encrypted, and the key kept securely. If protected information is sent using removable media, you must encrypt it and use a secure, tracked service so that you know it has arrived safely. Advice on the use of removable media and mobile devices for protected information is available on the Information Governance pages (login required), or by contacting the IT Service Desk.

7.2.3. Remote Working

If you access protected information from off campus, you must make sure you are using an approved connection method that ensures that the information cannot be intercepted between the device you are using and the source of the secure service. You must also be careful to avoid working in public locations where your screen can be seen. Advice on working remotely is available on the Information Governance pages (login required), or by contacting the IT Service Desk.

7.2.4. Personal or Public Devices and Cloud Services

Even if you are using approved connection methods, devices that are not fully managed by Bath Spa University cannot be guaranteed to be free of malicious software that could, for example, gather keyboard input and screen displays. You should not therefore use such devices to access, transmit or store protected information.

Advice on the use of personal devices to access institutional services is available on the Information Governance pages (login required), or by contacting the IT Service Desk.

Do not store protected information in personal cloud services - ensure you use approved and secure services suitable for the information you want to store. A list of approved services is available on the Information Governance pages (login required), or by contacting the IT Service Desk.

7.3. Copyright Information

Intellectual property is protected by copyright. Copyrighted material (including online text, videos, images, or software) can only be copied where the relevant law and, if applicable, University licences permit. For more information regarding your individual responsibility for copyright compliance, please see the University Copyright Policy and FAQs. A key point to remember is that material on the web does not need to state it is copyright protected in order to be protected by copyright law.

7.4. Access to your accounts

You and IT services are normally the only people who have access to the information and files in your accounts and to the logs of your activity. Information and logs of activity may only be accessed by someone other their owner without consent under very specific circumstances governed by these regulations and/or legal processes. (See How to gain access to another person account or logs of their activity” ) IT Services monitor your activity or access your files without your express consent for the purpose of:

  • scanning for viruses and assessing other threats
  • ensuring operational effectiveness - such as routine maintenance, identification of costs, trends or states, the sources of large amounts of traffic or files, the resolution of technical faults or stopping behaviour detrimentally affecting you or other users of services
  • establishing facts as part of an established investigation to detect non-compliance with other parts of these or other University regulations or policies, detect unauthorised use or crime
  • giving access to information produced in the course of your employment or study at Bath Spa to an authorised person when you are unavailable
  • complying with a Court Order or Warrant of a Competent Authority as defined in the Data Protection Act (2018) and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000). As expected under the Human Rights Act (1998), in doing so, care is taken not to retrieve any private information or logs of activity accessible by the account used outside the scope of the enquiry and not to compromise the security of the account concerned

7.5. Inappropriate Material

You must not create, download, store or transmit unlawful material, or material that is indecent, offensive, defamatory, threatening or discriminatory. Bath Spa University has procedures to approve and manage valid activities involving such material for valid research purposes where legal with the appropriate ethical approval. For more information, please refer to sensitive research material. There is also an exemption covering authorised IT staff involved in the preservation of evidence for the purposes of investigating breaches of the regulations or the law.

7.6. Publishing Information

Publishing means the act of making information available to the general public, this includes through web sites, social networks and news feeds. Whilst Bath Spa University generally encourages publication, there are some general guidelines you should adhere to:

7.6.1. Representing the Institution

You must not make statements that purport to represent Bath Spa University without the approval of the Vice Chancellor or her delegated authority (please contact the IT Service Desk in the first instance).

7.6.2 Publishing for Others

You must not publish information on behalf of third parties using the institution’s IT facilities without the approval of the Vice Chancellor or her delegated authority. Please contact the IT Service Desk in the first instance.

8. Behaviour

The way you behave when using IT should be no different to how you would behave under other circumstances. Abusive, inconsiderate or discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable.

8.1. Conduct online and on social media

Bath Spa University's policies concerning staff and students also apply to the use of social media. These include human resource policies, codes of conduct, acceptable use of IT and disciplinary procedures.

8.2. Spam

You must not send unsolicited bulk emails or chain emails other than in specific circumstances.

8.3. Denying Others Access

If you are using shared IT facilities for personal or social purposes, you should vacate them if they are needed by others with work to do. Similarly, do not occupy specialist facilities unnecessarily if someone else needs them.

8.4. Disturbing Others

When using shared spaces, remember that others have a right work without undue disturbance. Keep noise down (turn ‘phones to silent if you are in a silent study area), do not obstruct passageways and be sensitive to what others around you might find offensive.

8.5. Excessive Consumption of Bandwidth / Resources

  • Use resources wisely.
  • Don’t consume excessive bandwidth by uploading or downloading more material (particularly video) than is necessary.
  • Do not waste paper by printing more than is needed, or by printing single sided when double sided would do.
  • Don’t waste electricity by leaving equipment needlessly switched on.

9. Monitoring

9.1. Institutional Monitoring

Bath Spa University monitors and logs the use of its IT facilities for the purposes of:

  • Detecting, investigating or preventing misuse of the facilities or breaches of the University’s regulations
  • Monitoring the effective function of the facilities
  • Investigation of alleged misconduct
  • Dealing with email in an employee’s absence.

Bath Spa University will comply with lawful requests for information from law enforcement and government agencies for the purposes of detecting, investigating or preventing crime, and ensuring national security.

9.2. Unauthorised Monitoring

You must not attempt to monitor the use of the IT without the explicit permission of the Vice Chancellor or their delegated authority (please contact the IT Service Desk in the first instance). This would include:

  • Monitoring of network traffic
  • Network and/or device discovery
  • WiFi traffic capture
  • Installation of key-logging or screen-grabbing software that may affect users other than yourself
  • Attempting to access system logs or servers or network equipment. Where IT is itself the subject of study or research, special arrangements will have been made, and you should contact your course leader / research supervisor for more information.

10. Infringement

10.1. Disciplinary Process and Sanctions

Breaches of these regulations will be handled by the Bath Spa University's disciplinary processes, defined at disciplinary for staff and disciplinary for students.

This could have a bearing on your future studies or employment with the institution and beyond.

Sanctions may be imposed if the disciplinary process finds that you have indeed breached the regulations, for example:

  • imposition of restrictions on your use of IT facilities
  • removal of services
  • withdrawal of offending material.

fines and recovery of any costs incurred by Bath Spa University as a result of the breach.

10.2. Reporting to Other Authorities

If the institution believes that unlawful activity has taken place, it will refer the matter to the police or other enforcement agency.

10.3. Reporting to Other Organisations

If the institution believes that a breach of a third party’s regulations has taken place, it may report the matter to that organisation.

10.4. Report Infringements

If you become aware of an infringement of these regulations, you must report the matter to the relevant authorities.

Last approval: December 2018
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Group (VCAG)
Department/Post responsible: IT Services

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