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IT regulations & legal information

All students are encouraged to utilise the IT facilities in support of their learning and research. Training and support is readily available, and staff are on hand to help with all information technology requirements.

PC Labs are available for use within the Computer Centre, around the Campus, and at other locations including Kingswood Hall and Bedford Square, London. Access to the Computer Centre and most PC Labs is 24/7, with access outside normal working hours via a College Card.

In most areas, students may access the College network using their own devices.

You are still bound by the terms and conditions set herein, any legislation and any other College policies and/or terms and conditions in force at the time.

Use of computer facilities

The College’s computing facilities are provided primarily for use in pursuit of academic study. Social and recreational use is permitted under certain circumstances (see notices on display in PC Labs) but only if students or staff doing academic work are not disturbed or inconvenienced in any way. Commercial use is not permitted without explicit prior authorisation by the IT Director.

All users will be bound by the terms and conditions set herein, any legislation and any other College policies and/or terms and conditions in force at the time.

Privacy

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act 2000, the Lawful Business Practice Regulations (2000), and the Information Commissioner Code on Monitoring at Work (2003) provide the College the right to access all material, including email, held on College computing facilities where abuse is suspected or where there is a pressing academic or business need. Communications on or through the College’s computer systems may be monitored or recorded to secure effective system operations and for other lawful purposes.

Please note that the content of individual communications is not routinely monitored. However the College does reserve the right, within the law, to monitor in detail if there is some evidence of illegal or serious misuse of facilities, or if provision of the service may be compromised.

Responsibility for controlling access to student material resides with the Director of Information Services, or the appropriate Head of Department.

For security purposes, College PC Labs may be monitored and/or videotaped using CCTV cameras.

Personal accounts and file store

All users are given a personal account (with a unique username and password) allowing use of the College’s computing facilities. It is a condition of use that only the owner uses the account.

The Computer Misuse Act 1990 makes it a criminal offence to commit any of the following:

  • unauthorised access to computer material;
  • unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences;
  • unauthorised modification of computer material.

Therefore, you MUST NOT:

  • use or attempt to use another user’s account;
  • allow your own account to be used by someone else;
  • attempt to discover another user’s password;
  • use computer facilities to falsely claim to be someone else.

Most users will have data stored on the College’s computer systems. Any attempt to interfere with another user’s data, or to otherwise gain access to such data without the owner’s permission, will be treated as a serious offence. In pursuing a complaint against a user or any suspected computer misuse the IT Director may authorise access to a user’s file store.

All users should read the College’s guidelines regarding personal harassment and note that this includes harassment through the use of computer equipment. For example, displaying pornographic images will be offensive to many and will lead to disciplinary action. 

Viruses and intentional damage

Users must take precautions to ensure that their own devices are kept free from "computer viruses" and must not knowingly introduce any virus, trojan horse, or other 'nuisance' program into the College network. In this context, a 'virus' is a computer program which can 'infect' other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a (possibly modified) form of itself. A 'trojan horse' is a computer program which deliberately and secretly performs some function which the person running the program does not wish to happen.

Actions which deliberately render College computer systems unusable (whether by physical damage or otherwise) are not permitted and may result in disciplinary and/or legal action. 

Use of email

All students are provided with a College email account. Official communications from the College to the student will be sent to this account and departments may require course-work to be submitted by students from this account. The College therefore requires that students access their College email account at frequent and regular intervals. Students must also ensure that their College email account is kept operational by ensuring that it does not exceed its permitted capacity.

Students may forward email from their College account to a personal mailbox of their choice, however, it will remain the student’s responsibility to ensure that the forwarding process is correctly implemented.

The College will ensure that personal mailboxes will be accessible from College systems where technically possible.

You MUST NOT:

  • send unsolicited, non work-related email or other mass emails (spam). Unsolicited mass email is permitted only when authorised in advance by the Director of Information Services and will otherwise result in the immediate withdrawal of computing facilities;
  • forward on chain letters;
  • forward on virus alerts or other similar warnings to other users (as most are hoaxes) – instead, please contact the IT Service Desk for more information;
  • include personal or other abuse in messages.

Please see the email guidelines for further information.

Use of the academic network and the internet 

The College’s Campus network is connected to SuperJANET (the UK Academic Network), and hence to the Internet. The JANET Acceptable Use Policy governs use of SuperJANET. This will not be quoted here, since much of it duplicates the College’s own regulations; however, all users are advised to read it.

Users wishing to publish material to the internet must first read the College’s guidelines on web publishing. Note: the College reserves the right to withdraw any material from a College web server which is considered inappropriate.

Personal data held on computers by students

Personal data consists of information about a living individual who can be identified from that information.

A student must not hold or process personal data on a computer for a purpose related to his or her studies in the College without being expressly authorised to do so by an appropriate member of staff (normally, for a postgraduate, this will be the supervisor, and for an undergraduate, the person teaching the relevant class or course).

Students who are authorised to hold or process personal data on a computer must familiarise themselves with, and operate in accordance with, the Data Protection principles and the College’s registrations under the Data Protection Act 1984 and 1998, details of which are available from Heads of Departments. Copies of the College’s registrations are also available for inspection in both Bedford and Founder’s Libraries.

PC laboratories

Sensible eating and drinking within the PC Labs is allowed, provided that the computer equipment is not damaged in any way, and that all rubbish is cleared away before leaving the room.

Smoking is not permitted within 5 meters of any College building; doing so will result in disciplinary action.

You should note that additional conditions of use may from time to time be displayed in PC Labs or notified directly to users.

Legal framework

There are a number of statutory laws that have a bearing on the use of the College's computer facilities, and all users must obey these laws.

Computer Misuse Act (1990)

This Act makes it a criminal offence to commit any of the following:

  • Unauthorised access to computer material
  • Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences
  • Unauthorised modification of computer material

These offences are punishable by law with prison sentences ranging from six months to five years and unlimited fines.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988)

Users must respect the copyright of all material and software made available by Information Services and third parties. Such material is often obtained by the College at special rates, and this arrangement is jeopardised by unauthorised copying. If copyrighted material is to be incorporated into material published 'online' (for example, via the world wide web), the permission of the copyright holder must first be obtained.

For further information on copyright law, see the Copyright Licensing Agency's website.

Data Protection Act (1998)

The Data Protection Act applies to data on living persons which is stored in a computer or other electronic information system. The permission of a data subject should be sought and obtained before any information (irrespective of the medium) relating to them is collected or processed (where processing includes recording, holding disclosing, disposing, or carrying out any operation).

See the College's Policy relating to Data Protection, for further information.

Equality Act (2010)

Any material which discriminates gainst any person on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion/belief, sex, or sexual orientation (or encourages such discrimination), contravenes this act.

Libel laws

The libel laws cover publishing via electronic media. Facts concerning individuals or organisations must be accurate and verifiable and views or opinions must not portray their subjects in any way which could damage their reputation.

Obscene Publications Act (1964)

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994)

Protection of Children Act (1999)

Using computer facilities for the storage, transmission or display of obscene material is not allowed - irrespective of the legality of material in the country of origin. In addition to the serious penalties faced by the offender, investigation may result in confiscation of computer equipment by the police, causing severe disruption to the College.

Using computer facilities for the storage, transmission or display of obscene material is not allowed - irrespective of the legality of material in the country of origin. In addition to the serious penalties faced by the offender, investigation may result in confiscation of computer equipment by the police, causing severe disruption to the College.

Sanctions

The main sanction taken against those who breach the computer regulations is withdrawal of the use of computer facilities. In serious cases the full range of disciplinary action will be taken and may include police action. Any complaint against a student will result in an instant response with immediate suspension of the account while the complaint is investigated. With many offences (including defamation, computer misuse and obscene publication) it is likely that a zero-tolerance approach will be pursued with a permanent withdrawal of computing facilities.

 

 Accessibility | Policies | Privacy | Regulations & legalScope of support 

Contact us 

If you have any queries regarding these regulations, please contact the Head of Service Delivery, Frank Briggs

 

Email: Frank.Briggs@rhul.ac.uk

Phone: 01784 276310

In person: Computer Centre CC102

 

 

Getting help

Log a call - IT Service Desk:

W: itservicedesk.rhul.ac.uk

E: ITServiceDesk@rhul.ac.uk

T: (01784 41) 4321


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