Acceptable Use Policy

1. Introduction

This Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) 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. Therefore, when using ITSC services, facilities and networks, users must comply with all applicable laws, ITSC policies, as well as this AUP.

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.

As an Internet Service Provider (ISP), ITSC will not be liable for the content submitted by users on the campus network.


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. Copyrights and Intellectual properties

Hong Kong has appropriate copyright and patent laws which govern the use of software and other intellectual properties. Infringing others’ intellectual property rights may lead to legal consequences, including civil and criminal liabilities and penalties as imposed by the Court.  The University has also laid down a general policy regarding intellectual properties. Users should ensure that access to any software, data or confidential, copyright-protected, or patent-protected material of other users 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 software or copyright protected materials from the campus network and install into other machines without obtaining appropriate licenses or consents.
  • Users should not distribute a software (e.g. setting up ftp server) if they do not have the right to do so.

  • Users are responsible for ensuring their contributions on the campus network do not infringe third party intellectual property rights. HKUST does not tolerate or approve of any infringement behavior.

  • Users shall fully indemnify HKUST in the event of infringement. HKUST will not be liable for any damages suffered by the users as a result of wrongful suspension of the user from accessing the campus network or removal of the infringement material.

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. Recipients should find messages that they received from mass email are relevant to them.

Typical emails considered as inappropriate are:

  • advertisement
  • event announcement and promotion
  • survey and questionnaire
  • non-University related activities (e.g. commercial and private activities)

Users are required to comply with the University’s Policy on mass event announcement & promotion mail.

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

If IT Services are used in any way that ITSC, in sole discretion, believes violate to this AUP, immediate responsive actions will be taken as deemed appropriate. 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.
  • Temporary or permanent removal of infringement contents, which may include removing or blocking access to the infringement material loaded or shared on campus network.

  • User accounts and computer 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. Disclaimer

The University and ITSC will not assume liability for any losses, expenses, claims, or damages, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, resulting from the use of ITSC services by users.

12. Related Laws, Policies and Regulations

The following are the laws related to misuse of computer and data privacy:

  • Telecommunication Ordinance – section on unauthorized access to computer by Telecommunication
  • Crimes Ordinance – section on destroy or damage of program and data, also on access to computer with criminal or dishonest intent
  • Theft Ordinance – unlawful damages to anything in a building including erasing computer program or data
  • Copyright law - copyright protection in the Hong Kong SAR.
  • Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486) - The Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.