This Acceptable Use Policy was last updated on December 12, 2011.
The Laboratory Schools reserve the right to amend this statement at any time with or without notice.
Computers and computing resources are important tools for furthering the Laboratory Schools' educational mission. Using these resources is a privilege, not a right. This policy outlines the Schools' expectations for exercising this privilege responsibly.
In general, computer users are responsible for:
- reporting policy violations promptly to Laboratory School administrators
- cooperating with system administrators when policy violations are suspected or confirmed
- behaving courteously, ethically, and legally
Consequences follow when these responsibilities are not met. They may include suspension or termination of computer privileges, disciplinary steps prescribed in student handbooks or employee contracts, or legal action.
The University of Chicago owns and operates the Laboratory Schools' data and voice network. In addition to the Schools' Acceptable Use policy, network users are also expected to comply with the University's Eligibility and Acceptable Use Policies.
Care of Computing Resources
Users are expected to protect the Schools' investment in computing resources. Theft, vandalism, tampering, destruction, or disregard for the physical condition of computers and other equipment are not acceptable.
What this means to you:
- You may not steal, destroy, deface, or otherwise cause harm to school computing resources.
- You may not engage in any behavior meant to create a nuisance for other computer users or technical support staff.
- You are to report others' abuse of computers to school administrators.
Using Networked Resources
Any communications that would be improper or illegal on any other medium in a school environment are equally so on a computer network. Transmitting, viewing, or publishing content deemed by school administrators to be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, harassing, unethical, illegal, or disruptive to the Schools' learning environment is prohibited. Sending unwanted material to others is considered inappropriate.
Appropriate security precautions must be taken when using school resources to post online content. “Appropriate security precautions” vary with the age of the student, the manner in which information is shared, and the dynamic nature of online tools. The Schools’ current interpretation of such precautions can be found in the Web Posting Policy. It is rarely necessary or advisable to identify students in school-related publications by matching a face with a name or enabling others to locate a student in space and time on world readable page. The current interpretation reflects the input of school stakeholder groups, not just the Information Systems Group. Proposed changes to this interpretation must be vetted by these stakeholder groups prior to adoption.
The Laboratory Schools cannot be responsible for the security or accessibility of content stored on Internet servers not managed by the Schools. School community members who choose to use remotely hosted services for school-related purposes may do so, but with the following conditions:
- They do not represent in any way that these are school-owned or managed resources
- The posted content conforms to Laboratory School and University of Chicago Acceptable Use Policies and other published school guidelines for appropriate conduct including all current Web Posting Guidelines
- No interaction with advertising is forced, nor is mandatory demographic data entry required to access site content
Anonymous or pseudonymous electronic communications are inappropriate when used to dissociate yourself from responsibility for your actions. Publishing anonymously or with an invented name for malicious purposes is prohibited.
Anonymous or pseudonymous electronic communication may be appropriate when used to maintain appropriate online security when publishing school-related online content to an audience beyond the school community.
It is never appropriate to pose as another real person online.
What this means to you:
- You may not use the network to transmit, view, or publish material inappropriate for a school environment
- You understand and will comply with Laboratory Schools conditions for storing school-related data on remote servers
- You must take appropriate security precautions when posting on line content
- You may not send or post messages anonymously or posing as another person to mask inappropriate behavior
- You may post school-related messages anonymously or with an invented name to remain appropriately secure online
Intellectual Property Rights
The Laboratory Schools' computing facilities may not be used to steal content owned or copyrighted by others. Fair use laws regarding copyright apply; in general, a single copy made for personal uses falls within fair use laws, while multiple copies do not. Guides to Fair Use can be found in Blaine and Rowley libraries and in each computer lab. In cases where the law is unclear, users should assume that anything published on the Internet is copyrighted.
The University's IT Services group actively monitors network activity and investigates network behavior when it appears that illegal file sharing may be taking place. The Laboratory Schools cooperates fully with UC IT Services in addressing copyright violations involving University and/or Laboratory Schools accounts and the students and/or employees responsible for those accounts.
Software and Licensing
Software piracy occurs when one installs and/or uses software for which proper payment has not been made. Protected software may not be copied into, from, or by any Laboratory Schools' facility or system, except by license. Copying software among computers within the school is prohibited. So is copying software between school and home computers.[i]
The Schools enter into a variety of software licensing agreements, some of whose terms are complex. Users authorized to install software are expected to consult Information Systems or Computer Science staff when considering purchasing or installing software to certify that doing so will comply with vendor licensing agreements.
The Director of Information Technology is responsible for ensuring that the Laboratory Schools' computers are fully compliant with vendor licensing agreements. All school owned software licenses acquired by donations, departmental or grade level purchases, or promotional programs must be registered with the Director of Information Technology so they can be inventoried and a legal backup copy made. Information Systems staff will remove unregistered software from school computers until proper licensing can be verified. Personally owned software may not be installed on school computers. Similarly, school owned software may not be copied to personally owned computers.
Computers and associated peripherals such as printers and scanners may not be used to create fraudulent or counterfeit documents, such as IDs, currency, tickets, legal documents, etc.
What this means to you:
- You may not copy or share others' files without their permission
- You may not quote extensively from any source without proper attribution and permission
- You may not use the computers to create or alter IDs, currency, or other legal documents
- You may not make or share copies of copyrighted songs or albums, digital images, movies, or other artistic works unless explicitly permitted by fair use provisions of copyright law
- You may not use or install on school computers any software not licensed by the School [i]
- You may not take any licensed software from school to use at home or elsewhere [i]
- When software has been licensed by the Schools, you may not assume it is legal to make copies of it to install and/or use on other school computers
- Only authorized personnel may install software; all software installed on school computers must be owned by the Schools and registered with the Director of Information Technology
The Laboratory Schools' networks are not to be used for commercial purposes, such as marketing, reselling bandwidth, or business transactions between commercial organizations. Commercial advertising is forbidden. Software written using the Laboratory Schools' computing facilities may fall under the University of Chicago's policy on inventions, discoveries and software, and may belong to the University. All questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Vice-President for Research.
What this means to you:
- You may not use the network for commercial activity. If you are unsure of the definition of commercial activity, consult Laboratory School administrators.
- If you are going to write software using Laboratory Schools' computers, file a disclosure with the University of Chicago first.
Access to school computing resources is granted for educational and professional purposes. Using school technology resources for recreational or personal pursuits can deprive others from using them for educationally legitimate purposes. Doing so can also incur unauthorized direct and indirect operational costs the Schools are unwilling to assume.
For Laboratory Schools employees, use of computing resources is expected to reflect appropriate standards for professional conduct as determined by your supervisor or as specified in your contract.
For Laboratory Schools students, specific rules and policies about recreational computing vary by division and department. It is your responsibility to be familiar with these rules and conduct your activities accordingly. In general, you are expected to refrain from personal blogging, printing, instant messaging, on-line shopping or gaming, and other recreational activities (as determined by school personnel) unless teachers or administrators have given you express permission to do so.
What this means to you:
- Use the Schools' computers and/or network for educational and professional pursuits related to school activities.
- Be aware of specific restrictions on permissible recreational computing that may apply to you.
Using Shared Resources
The Laboratory Schools owns all data stored on school-owned equipment, including but not limited to the data network, computers, mobile data storage devices and all connected peripherals.
Individuals using these resources are subject to having their activities monitored and recorded by the System Administrator in conjunction with school administrators. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring. When monitoring reveals possible Acceptable Use Policy violations (Laboratory Schools or University of Chicago), system personnel may provide this data to school and/or University administrators.
The Laboratory Schools maintains the right to monitor school-owned technology resources electronically to ensure that system performance, management and maintenance functions, policy compliance, and system security are intact and that problems can be diagnosed and resolved quickly when disruptions to normal service occur.
When school-owned devices are believed to be lost or stolen, the Laboratory Schools also maintains the right to enable remote use of image capture hardware and software on those devices. This action may only be initiated by the Schools' System Administrator and/or the Assistant System Administrator following a formal, written directive from the Schools' Director or his/her designee and approval from the University of Chicago's Office of Legal Counsel. When authorized, the System Administrator or Assistant System Administrator employs a utility for that specific purpose and delivers it to the device using remote management software already in place for tech support operations.
Remotely captured data relevant to school and/or law enforcement investigations into lost or stolen computers will be saved to a physically and electronically secure server accessible only to authorized school staff. Remote data gathering will be discontinued as soon as data of sufficient probative value has been captured. Such data will also be deleted in a secure fashion by authorized school staff when it is no longer relevant to recovery efforts or to disciplinary or legal actions in which the Schools are involved.
The Laboratory Schools may share data gathered through remote image capture with law enforcement officials as required or compelled by law. The Laboratory Schools also may use data gathered through remote image capture in any internal proceeding, e.g., a student disciplinary hearing.
Shared resources on the Laboratory Schools network include file servers, other computers on which users' work is stored, University servers and devices containing Lab Schools’ information, and hosted online services with whom the Schools have contracted to provide services. To protect private information, mechanisms exist to prevent unauthorized examination by others. Attempts to circumvent these mechanisms are prohibited.
Searching through directories and folders to find unprotected information is also prohibited. Information you have not been invited to use is not yours to access. Even if a user's files are unprotected, it is improper for another user to read them unless the owner has given permission. Any attempt to access another user's files by any means constitutes a violation of this policy.
Users are expected to safeguard their data, authorization codes, and passwords by choosing passwords difficult to guess and changing these passwords frequently. You may not attempt to bypass password security features in any manner.
It is inappropriate and inadvisable to use school-owned computers for conducting sensitive or confidential personal business or storing such data. Users are advised that all data on school computers belongs to the Schools; technical support personnel at the Laboratory Schools may access other's files when necessary for the maintenance of computer systems. When performing this maintenance, every effort is made to ensure the privacy of a user's files. However, users cannot reasonably expect the same level of privacy as they would on a computer they own.
The Laboratory Schools reserve the right to monitor any files kept in disk areas it provides to you and to take action if software designed to breach security measures, including software to crack or capture passwords or break encryption protocols, is found.
Any attempt to deliberately degrade or disrupt system performance or to interfere with the work of others is a breach of this policy.
Limits may be set on certain computing resources such as disk storage space, printing access, bandwidth priority for specific applications, computer login time, etc. Users may not attempt to bypass these limitations.
Users may not use any other networking software or hardware on the Laboratory Schools' network other than that provided by the Schools.
What this means to you:
- You may not read, modify, or otherwise use another user's files without specific permission.
- You may not attempt to evade, disable or "crack" password or other security provisions put in place to protect other users' work.
- Anyone using the computer network, computers, hard drives and all connected peripherals located at the Laboratory Schools expressly consents to having their activities monitored.
- You may not attempt to bypass limits set on computing resources such as disk space, printing limits or other resource allocation parameters.
- You may use only the networking software and hardware provided by the Laboratory Schools.
The Laboratory Schools provides computer accounts only to the Laboratory Schools community. These accounts may only be used by the individual to whom the account is assigned. Accounts provided to you by the University of Chicago are restricted in the same way. Users may not authorize anyone, including family members, to use their account(s) or log in information for any reason, including LabNET and CNET IDs. Users are responsible for all activity on accounts assigned to them and must take all reasonable precautions, including password maintenance and file protection measures, to prevent use of their accounts by unauthorized persons.
What this means to you:
- You may not let anyone else (including family members) use your account. Sharing LabNET and CNET IDs or other passwords with peers is a violation subject to disciplinary or corrective action by the Laboratory Schools and/or the University of Chicago.
- You may not use anyone else's account anywhere on the Laboratory Schools or University of Chicago network (including accounts belonging to family members).
[i] Exceptions to this policy include instances in which the Microsoft Campus Agreement provides software licenses for home, work-related use. Similarly, some software licensing agreements permit teachers to install copies of software on personally-owned computers for work-related tasks. Users should consult the Director of Information Technology to determine which software programs are eligible for home installation. It is permissible for faculty and staff laptop users to install drivers and syncing software for at-home peripheral devices they own, including printers, handheld devices, cameras, scanners, and other such devices.