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Terms & Conditions of UTS Managed Email

Complete Policy Title: Terms & Conditions of UTS Managed Email
Policy Number:
Approved by: CIS Directorate
Date of Most Recent Approval: December, 2002
Revision Date(s):
Position Responsible for Developing
and Maintaining the Policy:
Director, CIS
Contact Department: University Technology Services
DISCLAIMER: If there is a discrepancy between this electronic policy and the written copy held by the Policy owner, the written copy prevails.

Email Accounts at McMaster University
The terms and conditions of UnivMail and MUSS usage are designed to best serve users, to comply with various regulations and codes imposed by the government, university and shared Internet communities, and to ensure that inappropriate use by one individual does not interfere with others' usage. This document is intended to supplement the McMaster Code of Conduct for Computer and Network Users.

Like all university facilities and equipment, university computers, networks and services are to be used only by persons authorized by the university, and only for "University Purposes." "University Purposes" include the educational programs of the university, research, administrative and outreach activities. These services include, but are not limited to, accounts for email, self-funding (EMP) modem pool access, printing, World Wide Web (WWW) home pages and desktop servers. These accounts may not be used for commercial purposes or personal gain. Customers are required to produce their McMaster ID card in order to establish their university affiliation.

A MUSS account is available to each undergraduate student. A UnivMail account is available to every graduate student, faculty member and staff member. Others, such as retired faculty, staff and alumni can also obtain accounts (see Access to UTS Systems). For all account holders, certain restrictions apply and the account may be revoked at any time without notice (see the section on "Abuses" in this document). Student accounts created on MUSS (undergraduate) and UnivMail (graduate) in the previous academic year and not renewed by October 15 of the current academic year will be removed from the system. Non graduate student accounts that exist on UnivMail that have not been accessed for 13 months or that are used only to relay (forward) email to another account will also be removed.

What about monitoring?
UTS routinely monitors various on-campus computer systems, but does not routinely monitor the activities of any individual. In cases where system abuse is suspected or if there are system or network problems, UTS is authorized to look for any information or files necessary to solve the problem and/or to protect the systems and information that those systems contain. Any information unrelated to the problem is treated as confidential.

As part of normal system management, the university collects various types of information on UnivMail and MUSS. This includes, but is not limited to, login/logout times, types of access, amount and size of messages sent and received, excluding the content of those messages, and amount of resources used. This information can be analysed for various purposes relating to the management of the email systems.

Who Can Access My Files and EMail?
You own any electronic mail and files in your account. You may NOT give your password to someone else so they can access your files. The exception to this rule is the use of generic accounts only, which, by definition, may be shared by authorized users. If you need to share files, send the files as attachments.

UnivMail users, if they wish, can set up "designates" to allow access to their email account temporarily, for purposes of covering absences (sick/maternity leave, vacation, etc.), however, the owner of the account is still responsible for any activity originating from that account.

In certain cases, and only upon written request co-signed by the appropriate vice-president, your supervisor or McMaster Security Services will be given access to any files or email contained in your account, and extracts of various logs relating to the activity of your account.

If UTS is served with a search warrant, off-campus police will be given access to any files or email messages. If the police are looking for the correspondents of a UnivMail or MUSS user, they will not be provided with any names, but rather, a copy of the police bulletin will be sent to the correspondents.

Who Owns What?

The university owns the UnivMail and MUSS systems and provides computer accounts for the use of authorized individuals. In this sense, the university owns the account, and the individual holding the account has exclusive use of it, and must comply with UTS policies and conditions (see McMaster Code of Conduct for Computer and Network Users). The individual owns the electronic mail or other data files kept under the account.

Disk Quota
Each customer on UTS managed email servers (e.g. MUSS, UnivMail) are allocated disk space for storing email. This disk quota includes all mail folders, including the INBOX.

Additional disk space can be purchased by any faculty or staff, or by university departments on behalf of students in their employ, at current rates. Additional quota may also be granted without charge on a temporary basis, where warranted for academic purposes. For further information, contact the Technology Service Desk.

WWW Home Pages
If you publish WWW pages or similar information resources on university computers or servers, you are fully responsible for what is published. If the content is libellous or deceptive, you can be sued and held personally liable. If you reproduce copyrighted pictures, cartoons, or comic strips on your web page, you must have the copyright owner's permission. You may not publish commercial advertisements. References and links to commercial sites are permitted, but advertisements and especially compensated advertisements are not. You may not accept payments, discounts, free merchandise or services, or any other remuneration in return for placing anything on your web pages or similar facilities. Since there are laws against distributing obscene material (not just creating it), a link to an obscene website can be a violation of the law. You have the same responsibilities as if you were publishing a newspaper. See also "Terms & Conditions of Use for Personal Web Pages at McMaster".

In cases where system abuse is suspected, user IDs will be suspended while the matter is investigated. If the investigation finds that abuse did not occur, the user ID will be reinstated.

If the abuse is minor (sending chain letters, for example), the appropriate system administrator can reinstate a user ID. For more serious abuses, the Director, UTS or his/her designate authorize the reinstatement of the ID.

Cases involving harassment using the email system will be referred to Human Rights & Equity Services, Student Affairs, before an ID may be reinstated. We cannot reinstate accounts for people without the appropriate identification (i.e., ID card). Depending on the specific complaint, your account may be suspended permanently; account activity may be reported for academic dishonesty, to McMaster Security, off-campus police services and/or to other executive officers of the university as deemed appropriate by the Director, UTS.

The Internet connects computers throughout the world. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules; not everyone out there is nice. You may find that some of the information available via the Internet is objectionable, or that some of the messages sent by people on the Internet are objectionable. We have no control over other sites or people on the Internet.

If you receive objectionable messages from people on-campus, you may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Ignore it;
  • Respond to the person and tell them to stop;
  • Forward a copy of the objectionable message to the administrator of the on-campus machine it originated from and state why you object to it (UTS can assist you if you are not sure how to do this);
  • If appropriate, contact McMaster Security Services, the Ombudsman, and/or Human Rights & Equity Services and/or the appropriate Senior Executive at McMaster; and/or
  • If appropriate, contact the police.

If you receive objectionable messages from people off-campus you may take one or more of the following actions:

  • Ignore it;
  • Rrespond to the person and tell them to stop;
  • Forward a copy of the objectionable message to the administrator of the off-campus machine and state why you object to it (UTS can assist you if you are not sure how to do this); and/or
  • If appropriate, contact the police.

Do NOT "mail bomb" (send large amounts of mail to) the sender of the objectionable messages. This is against the McMaster Code of Conduct and disciplinary action as outlined in "Abuses" will be taken.

If you believe that your account has been compromised, or if your account is being mail bombed or other improper activities, contact the Technology Service Desk, BSB-245, ext. 24357, or email for assistance.

Service Bulletins

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