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Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities
Approved by: Council
Meeting date: 13 December 2001
Meeting no: 01/8
Resolution no: COU/01/153.3
Responsible Officer: Director, Information Technology Division
Note: This policy is current and enforceable, however is under review.


The University is bound by legislation and limited resources to ensure the appropriate, effective and legal use of its facilities. Increased legislation pertaining to information technology and telecommunications is compelling all organisations to review their internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance. The cost to the University of providing information technology facilities and in particular internet access has risen dramatically over the last few years requiring increased management of the use of these resources. The UTS is committed to providing an appropriate work and study environment supported by its policy framework.


The University communications network and all computing devices are provided for the purpose of teaching, learning, research, professional development and administration. This policy informs users of their rights and responsibilities in relation to their use of this technology. It applies to all users of the University's information technology (IT) facilities and is consistent with the provision of an environment that respects freedom of inquiry and expression, privacy and confidentiality, the law and due process.

Information technology facilities

This policy governs the use of:

  • All network services, computer equipment and software, owned, leased or used under license by the University;
  • Computer facilities maintained by other bodies but available for use through an agreement or agreements with the University.

The University cannot guarantee the availability of its IT facilities and reserves the right for them to be unavailable from time to time for either planned or unforeseen circumstances.

User rights

Users have the right to access and use the University's IT facilities for legitimate work, study and related purposes. Personal use of IT facilities is a privilege and is to be kept to an incidental level.

User responsibilities

Through the use of the information technology facilities users agree to abide by this policy. Persons using the IT facilities are responsible for their own actions, and are subject to relevant state and federal laws and to University statutes, regulations and policies.


The University reserves the right to undertake periodic audits to ascertain compliance with this policy.

Network and System Administrators treat the content of electronic communications and data as confidential. However, normal operation and maintenance of the systems requires backup and caching of communications and data, the logging of activity, and the monitoring of general usage patterns. Where inappropriate use of IT facilities is detected, reports may be prepared for the purpose of investigating breaches of this or other UTS policies and for appropriate follow-up action. Such action may require privileged use of information. In all matters relating to privacy and security of individual accounts and communications, including any requests for release of information, University staff must abide by the relevant laws and University regulations.

A. Ethical use

Users should observe ethical standards of conduct.

Unethical activities may include:

  • denying access to other authorised users
  • obtaining or attempting to obtain a higher level of access privilege or access to facilities without authorisation
  • granting access to unauthorised users
  • using another person's computer account (even with the owners permission)
  • disclosing their own or attempting to discover any other computer user's password
  • attempting to modify system facilities, illegally obtain extra resources, degrade the performance of any system or attempt to subvert the restrictions associated with any computer system, computer account or network service
  • sending bulk unsolicited mail (commonly known as SPAM)
  • utilising access for commercial or personal gain not associated with the University's mission
  • more than an incidental level of personal use
  • illegitimate monitoring of individual users.

B. Socially responsible use

Users must ensure that their use of the University's facilities is socially responsible. In particular Commonwealth and State Laws and University policy prohibit harassment and discrimination, vilification or victimisation on grounds such as race, gender, religious belief, political conviction, sexual preference, or disability.

University IT facilities must not be used to humiliate, intimidate or offend others particularly on the basis of any attribute prescribed under these laws and policies. This includes the sending of offensive emails, displaying inappropriate screen saver images and accessing inappropriate material, which may inadvertently be observed by others. Pornography and other material that can cause offence to others may not be accessed, held or displayed on any IT facilities at UTS except as is necessary to accommodate legitimate research or study needs. Users unsure if their activities fall within these parameters should seek advice from appropriate supervisors.

All users should ensure that they are familiar with the UTS Policy on the Prevention of Harassment or contact the Equity and Diversity Unit if they require further information. (For contact details, see the Equity and Diversity Unit website.)

C. Legal use

Users must ensure their use of the IT facilities complies with all relevant Federal and State legislation as well as all University statutes and regulations. Illegal activities may include:

  • intentional damage of facilities
  • violating a software licence
  • unauthorised access by 'hacking'
  • theft of equipment, software or data
  • creation, possession or distribution of illegal pornography (eg child pornography)
  • any other unlawful activity.

D. Academic standards of conduct

Users of the IT facilities must observe standards of conduct expected in an academic environment. Unacceptable activities include:

  • plagiarism
  • unauthorised publication on behalf of the University
  • breach of copyright
  • unauthorised experimenting with, or demonstrating of network or system vulnerability.

E. Competent Use

Users should ensure that they are competent in the general use of network and computing facilities and services. In particular users should:

  • choose a secure password and change it periodically
  • know how to back-up programs and data for which they are responsible
  • understand their responsibilities under the UTS Information Technology Security Vice-Chancellor's Directive
  • assume responsibility for the maintenance and protection of data and software in their charge
  • take all practicable measures to ensure current local virus protection mechanisms are in place
  • seek assistance if they do not know how to competently use the facilities.

In addition users must accept that the University cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in results or output as a consequence of their use of IT facilities.

F. Efficient use

Users should ensure technology resources are utilised in the most effective manner to reduce wastage and costs incurred by the University in providing data storage, access and network capacity. In particular, users will need to adopt responsible approaches to activities that can result in wasteful use of resources including:

  • storage of excess mail
  • processing and storage of large documents (eg video, audio and high resolution images)
  • storing excessive personal data or files
  • downloading of large files from the internet
  • wasteful printing.

Individual IT resource needs vary widely across the University – this policy does not endeavour to put finite limits on IT usage only to ensure that individual use is relative to the users legitimate needs.

Breach of policy

While the University would generally employ an educative approach, breach of this policy could lead to:

  • counselling and/or user education
  • appropriate administrative or disciplinary action (which may lead to dismissal or exclusion) in accordance with the rules, policies and enterprise agreements of the University
  • immediate termination of the right to use IT facilities on a temporary or permanent basis
  • criminal or other legal proceedings in accordance with State and Federal legislation.

Related legislation, policies and regulations

Relevant and related legislation includes:

Relevant University policy and regulations include:

Need help?

Users requiring assistance with interpretation of this policy, or who wish to report an incident, contact:

Director, Governance Support Unit Webpage: GSU contacts

Director, Information Technology Division Webpage: IT contacts

Equity and Diversity Unit Webpage: Equity & Diversity

Human Resources Unit Webpage: HRU contacts