Acceptable Use Policy

1. Introduction

This acceptable use policy applies to all users of the HKUST Campus Network and its objective is to ensure that every network user can enjoy a secure and productive working environment.

2. The Network

  • Network facilities are provided to University members and legitimate users. Users having rights to access network resources do not imply they can transfer the rights to others unless it is explicitly approved by the University. For example, users are not allowed to :
    • Disclose or share the computer account with others.
    • Allow unauthorized users to access the network via his/her own machine.
    • Copy software or data files from network and transfer to others.
  • 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 at non-office hours.
  • Users should not use the network resources for activities that are not related to the University (e.g. commercial and private activities).
  • Network objects (data, program, information) not particularly locked or protected by the system do not imply that they can be altered, deleted or manipulated. This is same as the common understanding that you do not have the right to take away belongings of others although they are not being locked.

3. The ITSC Network Account

Access to restricted resources are provided by means of a ITSC Network Account. Users are responsible to maintain a secure password and change it regularly. Shared use of account and password is prohibited, unless approved by the University.

In emergency cases, network administrators are authorized to temporarily suspend the access of ITSC Network Accounts.

4. Software Copyright and Licenses

Hong Kong has appropriate copyright and patent laws which govern the use of software and other intellectual properties. The University has also laid down a general policy regarding intellectual properties and software licenses. 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 student halls.
  • Users should not copy the software from the campus network and install into other machines without obtaining appropriate licenses.
  • Users should not distribute a software (e.g. setting up ftp server) if they do not have the right to do so.

5. Email

Email is one of the most important tools for administration and communication in this University. The following are common email problems which should be avoided:

Broadcast mail or Mass mail

Sending inappropriate or irrelevant email to a large group of recipients will not only waste the recipients’ time and disk space but can also interfere the normal operation of servers and network. Typical emails considered as inappropriate are:

  • advertisement
  • lost and found
  • announcement of student activities
  • survey and questionnaire

Fake and/or anonymous mail

Email should be sent with the email address assigned by the 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.

Indecent mail

Emails should always be written with proper language and observe common courtesy.

Users should not use bad language or harass the recipient.

6. Pornographic and Indecent Materials

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.

7. Interaction with Other Network Users

There are lots of communications tools and programs which allow network users to communication and interact with other network users. Examples of such tools are email, chatting program, send/receive messages, picture/audio/video transmission, phone and fax facilities and so on. In using such communications tools, users should not violate the relevant laws such as those related to discrimination, harassment and slander. Users should also observe good conducts and common courtesy. The Regulations for Student Discipline stipulated in the University Calendar also applies to the misconduct in use of computers.

8. Cybersecurity

In view of escalating cybersecurity threats targeted at the higher education sector, it is imperative that every IT resource user and owner in HKUST should adopt appropriate cybersecurity protection. Users should refer to our Cybersecurity Policy for details.

9. Accessing External Network

Users should be aware that when accessing external network managed by different authorities, different policies and regulations apply.

10. Enforcement

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

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

Whenever appropriate, departmental UG/PG coordinators will also be informed to suspend the student’s access to departmental facilities. For serious offenses, the case will be brought forward to Student Disciplinary Committee for further actions.

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

  • Cooperate with Hong Kong Government and other network administrators for the investigation.
  • Impose necessary penalties, including suspension of access to all computing and networking facilities.

11. Related Laws, Policies and Regulations

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.
  • Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) regarding protect the privacy rights of a person in relation to personal data.

The following are University Policies and Regulation related to the use of computers:

  • The Regulations for Student Discipline stipulated in the University Calendar.
  • The Intellectual Property Policies published by the Office of the Vice-President for Research and Development.