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Computer network and information resources guidelines

The purpose of Erikson’s computer network and information resources is to support its mission of teaching, research, and community engagement. The guidelines below are meant to help us avoid compromising Erikson’s mission as well as resources.

1. Access: Users must refrain from seeking to gain unauthorized access to information resources or enabling unauthorized access by others. Inappropriate uses include, but are not limited to:

  • Sharing your username and passwords and permitting other individuals to access your accounts;
  • Accessing another user’s files or directories without authorization; Attempting to capture or crack passwords or encryption to access another user’s accounts or network files;
  • Intercepting or monitoring any network communication not explicitly intended for you without authorization;
  • Impersonating another individual in communication (e.g., forged email, texts, IMs, social media postings);
  • Restricting or denying access to the system by legitimate users.

2. Usage: Use of Erikson’s information resources must comply with Institute policies and legal obligations, including licenses and contracts, and all federal and state laws. Inappropriate uses include, but are not limited to:

  • Using Erikson’s resources for private financial gain (e.g., running a private business);
  • Using Erikson’s resources to conduct partisan political activities (e.g., lobbying or campaigning) where prohibited by federal, state, or other applicable laws;
  • Copying and using Institute purchased/leased software contrary to the provisions of the contract;
  • Consuming an unauthorized, disproportionate share of networking resources;
  • Downloading, viewing, or transmitting fraudulent, harassing, pornographic, or threatening messages or materials or materials containing ethnic slurs, racial epithets, or other content that may be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based on their race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws;
  • Using copyrighted or licensed digital resources without appropriate permission and/or attribution (e.g., journals, movies, music, software, games, data, etc.). (See Erikson’s Intellectual Property Policy and the Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Policy for more information);
  • Violating the terms of use of online media forums, including social networking websites, mailing lists, chat rooms, and blogs. Please note that Erikson acknowledges that there may be a legitimate academic or scholarly reason for downloading, viewing or transmitting certain content that in most other contexts would be violative of this policy. If such circumstances arise, please use appropriate discretion in processing such materials.

3. Integrity and security of information: Users must respect and protect the integrity of information and information resources and preserve the rights and privacy of individuals. Inappropriate activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Deploying software programs that secretly collect information about individual users;
  • Destroying or altering data or programs belonging to other users;
  • Storing, sending or otherwise processing sensitive personal information about individuals without express authorization and proper security protections or in violation of applicable law. Examples of such information include financial information, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, state ID numbers, and health information;
  • Transmitting sensitive or proprietary information to unauthorized persons or organizations;
  • Sending unsolicited messages without authorization to a large number of recipients, including staff and students;
  • Transmitting confidential, personally identifiable information, or information otherwise protected by law, over the network without proper safeguards, which in some instances, such as in the case of transmitting sensitive personal information, may require encryption. “Personally identifiable information” means information that is identifiable to an individual or reasonably identifiable to a specific device.

4. Personal use of Institute-owned networks and information resources: Erikson acknowledges that a certain amount of incidental personal use of Institute-owned information resources may occur during work time. Erikson further acknowledges that a certain amount of such use on personally-owned devices during work time may also occur.

As general rule, Erikson does not object to such periodic incidental use so long as it is:

  • Reasonable and limited;
  • Creates efficiencies that allow better use of time at work;
  • Does not interfere with work commitments;
  • Does not adversely affect or burden Erikson’s information systems, the work environment generally, or other users.

5. Erikson’s right to access information resources for legal and Institute purposes: Users should have no expectation of privacy when using Erikson’s telecommunication networks and information resources for any form of activity, including but not limited to email (personal and business), messaging, accessing the Internet, or engaging in social media. Erikson may monitor communications and other activities taking place on its information systems and reserves the right at its discretion to access, and in some circumstances disclose to third parties, any records, messages, or communications sent, received, or stored on its information systems, without the knowledge and consent of the users who have custody of them, subject to applicable law. Examples of circumstances in which representatives of the Institute may need to access and/ or disclose electronic or other records to third parties (including paper records) include:

  • In response to investigations, subpoenas, or lawsuits. Erikson may be required by law to provide electronic or other records, or information related to those records, to third parties;
  • In connection with Erikson’s own investigations;
  • To ensure the proper functioning of the Institute;
  • To protect the safety of individuals or the Erikson community;
  • To provide, maintain, or improve services; and, in that connection Erikson may also permit reasonable access to data by third-party service providers.


Reporting concerns about or possible misuse of information resources
Users should report any system defects and concerns with system security to the Information Technology staff. To report suspected misuse of Erikson’s computer telecommunications resources, users should follow the procedures outlined in the Whistleblower Policy.

Consequences of misuse of information resources

Inappropriate use of these resources may result in loss of access and disciplinary action, up to and including termination or dismissal or, in some cases, in civil or criminal prosecution.