The following document pertaining to the ethical use of computers and information was taken from Iowa State University.
The following statement of Software and Intellectual Rights was developed through EDUCOM, a non-profit consortium of colleges and universities committed to the use and management of information technology in higher education.
"Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution.
"Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community."
The above statement provides a guide for the ethical use of computer facilities whether one is using a microcomputer, minicomputer, mainframe computer or supercomputer, or computer network, and whether the computer files, programs, or data are stored on floppy disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, or other storage media. Computer facilities and files owned by tape, or other storage media. Computer facilities and files owned by others should be used or accessed only with the owner's permission.
Viewing or using another person's computer files, programs or data without authorized permission is unethical behavior and an invasion of that person's privacy. Such behavior, if used for personal gain, is plagiarism. Ethical standards apply even when material appears to be legally unprotected. Improper use of copyrighted material may be illegal.
The following guidelines govern ethical computer use here at Southwest Texas Junior College:
# Unauthorized access to restricted databases is unethical.
# Use of computer facilities by an individual must be authorized by the owner or administrative unit. Prior permission to use another user's computer account or user-id must be acquired from the owner of the account, who is responsible for its use. Changing another person's password is considered a form of harassment and is unethical behavior.
# Users are responsible for their use of computer hardware, accounts and user-ids. These should be used only for the stated purpose; e.g., instructional class accounts must be used only to support the given courses. University computer facilities are not to be used for private monetary gain unless specifically authorized for such use.
# Users must not browse, access, copy or change private files without authorization, or change public files without authorization. Users must not attempt to modify the computer systems or software in any unauthorized manner. The use of invasive software, such as "worms" and "viruses" destructive to computer systems is unethical and illegal. Copyrighted software must only be used in accordance with its license or purchase agreement. Users do not have the right to receive and/or use unauthorized copies of software, or make unauthorized copies of software for themselves or others.
# College computing facilities are a valuable resource for College use and they should be conserved. Users should properly utilize these resources to minimize any unnecessary impact of their work on others, for example, users should avoid excessive game playing.
# SWTJC policies regarding the appropriate use of college facilities and the ethics of personal behavior apply to the use of all forms of electronic communication. In addition, users of any electronic communication facilities, such as electronic mail, networks, bulletin boards, and newsgroups, are obligated to comply with the restrictions and acceptable practices established for those specific facilities. Certain types of communications are expressly forbidden. This includes the random mailing of messages; the sending of obscene, harassing, or threatening material; or the use of the facilities for commercial or political purposes.
# Hardware, software, manuals, supplies, etc., must not be removed from computing sites without proper authorization.
# Abuse or misuse of any computer hardware or software will be regarded as illegal and/or unethical behavior.
Violations of the College code of Computer Ethics are treated like any other ethical violation as outlined in the Student Handbook and applicable faculty and staff handbooks. Violators may also be billed for illegal use of the computer systems and may be prosecuted for statutory violations according to State and Federal Law.
The original document is under Copyright (c) 1992 by Iowa State University
Permission to reproduce all or part of this document for noncommercial purposes is granted, provided the author and Iowa State University are given credit. To copy otherwise requires specific permission.