Acceptable Use Policy

University of California, Berkeley
School of Information (I School)
Computing & Information Services (CIS)

Revised: September 17, 2007 (version: 0.1)

1. Purpose

In support of the school's teaching and research mission, Computing & Information Services (CIS) provides computing, networking, and information resources to the I School community. These resources are provided in an atmosphere that encourages academic inquiry and sharing of information, while protecting the right to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom from intimidation and harassment, intellectual property, and security of information. Maintaining such an atmosphere requires that all members of the I School community use these resources responsibly and respect the rights of others. The purpose of this policy is to promote the efficient, ethical, and lawful use of the school's computing resources.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all users of I School computing resources, including (but not limited to) faculty, staff, students, visiting scholars, and guests. It governs your use of all computer hardware, software, infrastructure, and services owned, licensed, or managed by the school. In order to access these resources, you must agree to comply with this policy as well as all applicable University policies and regulations, and local, state, and federal laws.

3. Acceptable Use

The following standards do not provide a comprehensive listing of all possible acceptable uses of I School computing resources. Instead, they provide a framework for determining whether a given use is acceptable. Please direct any questions regarding acceptable use of I School computing resources to

  • Use I School computing resources for activities substantially related to the school's primary mission of teaching and research. Incidental personal use is permitted, provided that it does not violate other provisions of this policy and does not interfere with uses that support the school's primary mission.

  • Use only those resources you have been authorized to access. Users and groups are granted the smallest set of privileges required to carry out their work (known as the principle of least privilege). Various mechanisms are employed to prevent unauthorized access to computing resources. Attempting to circumvent these mechanisms without prior approval from CIS is a violation of this policy.

  • Take reasonable precautions to protect the security and integrity of resources you have been authorized to access. As an individual user, you will have an account and a number of group memberships that will give you access to a set of computing resources. You must take reasonable steps to ensure that your use of these resources does not leave them vulnerable to unauthorized access.

  • Make efficient use of computing resources. Since computing resources are finite and often shared, you are expected to consider the effect your use of these resources has on others.

  • Respect the privacy and rights of others. Freedom of expression and academic inquiry need to be balanced with the rights of others to work and study in an environment free from intimidation, harassment and improper influence.

  • Use computing resources in accordance with applicable University policies and regulations, as well as local, state, and federal laws. You are expected to have read and understood the relevant University policies; see the link provided at the end of this document for more information.

4. Examples of Misuse

The following are examples of misuse. These are meant to illustrate some potential misuses; they do not represent an exhaustive listing of all possible misuses.

  • Using significant computing resources for non-academic purposes

  • Looking for and exploiting security flaws or using tools such as password crackers and keyboard or network sniffers to obtain unauthorized access to systems and information (except in cases where prior approval has been given by CIS)

  • Sharing your password with another person (including CIS staff)

  • Leaving a workstation you have logged into unattended without locking the screen, or locking the screen of a shared workstation and leaving it unattended for an extended period of time

  • Installing applications or services and failing to ensure that they are properly configured and patched to prevent unauthorized access

  • Running processes that deny or significantly disrupt service for other users

  • Using school computing resources to harass or defame others

  • Sending unsolicited bulk e-mail (UBE) or chain letters

  • Attempting to monitor or alter another user's electronic communications or data files without the user's consent

  • Using school computing resources to access or share software, media files, or other materials in violation of copyright law

5. Consequences of Misuse

Misuse of school computing resources may result in one or more of the following consequences:

  • Suspension of computing privileges

  • Disciplinary actions up to and including expulsion from school or termination of employment

  • Legal prosecution under applicable local, state, and federal laws

6. Related Policies

In addition to the policies of the School of Information, users of I School computing resources are also subject to the IT policies of the Berkeley campus and the UC System. The Berkeley campus Information Technology group, Berkeley IT, maintains a page listing these policies at the following URL:

Last updated:

September 7, 2022