McMaster University

Complete Policy Title: Terms & Conditions of MacOnline Usage - Network Connection
Policy Number:
Approved by: Director, CIS
Date of Most Recent Approval: July, 2000
Revision Date(s): July 2002
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.

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

The MacOnline network service includes a connection to the McMaster University network and to the internet via the McMaster University network. Each residence student at McMaster has the privilege of using the MacOnline service.  Certain restrictions apply and the privilege may be revoked at any time without notice (see the section on abuses).  You may incur charges while using the service.  For example, charges may be incurred as a result of accessing certain information, or purchasing or subscribing to certain offerings.  You are responsible for charges, including all applicable taxes.  These are not the responsibility of the University. 

Any computer or other device connected to the McMaster University network must use a McMaster University IP number. McMaster University owns all of the IP addresses and may change them at any time. Your computer will be assigned an IP number via the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). Your Operating System must support this protocol. You must use only the IP number assigned, no exceptions.

McMaster University computer networks and services, like all University facilities, are to be used only by persons authorized by the University, and only for University purposes. These computer networks include all of the MacOnline network connections. These services include but are not limited to accounts for E-Mail, Enhanced Modem Pool (EMP), printing, Proxy, world wide web (WWW) home pages and access to Lan servers.  University purposes include the educational programs of the University, as well as its research, administrative and outreach activities. 

You are the person who will be held accountable for any use or abuse on the connection. Students are assigned to a particular bed in each room. Each bed has a network jack associated with it. You must use the network jack associated with your bed. Protect your computer with power on passwords and screen savers with passwords. Lock the door to your room when you are not there. Do not share your passwords with anyone. Laws, policies and rules against fraud, harassment, obscenity and the like apply to electronic communications no less than other media. 

What about Monitoring:

UTS routinely monitors the various University computer networks and systems but does not routinely monitor the activities of individuals. In case of system or network problems, the appropriate staff are authorized to look at network packets on any part of the network for information necessary to solve the problems or to protect the systems and information that they contain. Staff are instructed to treat, as confidential, any information they see that turns out to be unrelated to the problem. 

As part of normal network management, the University may collect various types of network information. This information may include but is not limited to the number of packets sent and received, the amount of data sent and received, and the type of network protocols used. 

What about Network Sniffing:

Your MacOnline connection is a private connection within the MacOnline part of the University network. No other MacOnline customers can see your non-broadcast network packets. This means that the person in the next room cannot "sniff" your network packets from their MacOnline connection. However, remember that your network packets could be sniffed outside of the MacOnline part of the University network. This includes other parts of the University network and the Internet. 

Who owns What:

When we talk about your MacOnline connection, this does not mean that you own it. The computer, the ethernet card, and the patch cable that goes from the ethernet card to the MacOnline connection are your property. The University owns the MacOnline connection on the wall and all of the network wiring. You must not modify or tap into this wiring in any way. 

Network Bandwidth Availability:

It is a privilege of the user to make use of MacOnline. It is also the responsibility of the user to regulate his/her usage patterns. The network is a shared resource and fellow users should be treated in a respectful manner. A network connection in your residence room is helpful for academic pursuits. A specific amount of Internet bandwidth is purchased by Housing and Conference Services each school year. This bandwidth is dedicated for use by MacOnline customers only and is not shared with the rest of the University. There is a finite amount of bandwidth available. Once consumed, speed to Internet destinations will begin to degrade.

UTS, in conjunction with the IRC and Housing Services, may deploy various mechanisms to ensure fair usage of the available bandwidth. These mechanisms help ensure that no one customer is consuming more than his or her equal share.  The amount of Internet bandwidth used by an individual during a twenty-four hour period may be limited and service degraded when the limit is reached. The limits may be adjusted after review. The speed of data flow you experience will depend on the amount of Internet traffic at the time of use and is often limited by the server you are connected to. If usage patterns reveal that a user is monopolizing bandwidth or is abusing the system, he/she may have their bandwidth limited for a period of time. If the activity persists, the user may be called upon to justify their levels of use and may be denied the service in the future. 

To optimize your experience with the network: 

  • Read and understand the terms and conditions of the Code of Conduct for Computer and Network Users.   Know what is right and wrong and act accordingly. 
  • Use the internet during non peak hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  During this time many students are in class and people are at work, so there is much less load on the network generally and there are fewer people using the network. 
  • Choose what to download.  Take your time and select those files and programs that are necessary.  MacOnline is provided as an academic resource and should be treated as such. 
  • Visit often.  There is a FAQ site.  It holds very important and pertinent questions and could solve a problem you are having. 

In case of suspicion of abuse, your MacOnline connection and access to other UTS services may be disabled while the matter is being investigated. If the investigation finds that abuse did not occur, your MacOnline connection will be restored and access to other UTS services reinstated. Any information found will be referred to Housing and Conference Services who will follow the Residence Discipline Code. 

All cases involving harassment will be reported to the Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs). 

Depending on the specific complaint, you may have your MacOnline connection and/or access to other UTS services suspended permanently, be reported for academic dishonesty, be reported to the police or McMaster Security and/or reported to other executive officers at the University. 

Is my computer safe from network attack:

Firewall.  MacOnline is connected behind a firewall. The firewall permits traffic from your computer to the McMaster network or the Internet and allows return traffic that is part of that connection, back to your computer. The firewall blocks all unsolicited traffic from the Internet to your computer (traffic not requested by your computer). This means that any sort of Internet server, such as WWW or FTP, running on your computer will not be accessible from the Internet, only from within McMaster University. Your MUSS account enables you to publish WWW pages that are accessible from outside the University.

File and Print Sharing.   The network segment functions as a Local Area Network (LAN) in that each customer is a node on the network.  As such, other McMaster Network users may be able to access your computer.  As well, some software includes capabilities that permit other users across the network and the Internet to gain access to your computer and to the software, files and data stored on the computer.  For example, operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Apple Macintosh include file and printer sharing capabilities which, when enabled, permit other users to gain access to your computer (this is not an exhaustive list of applications or operating systems which include such capabilities).  We recommend that you disable file and print sharing and other capabilities that allow users to gain access to your computer.  Any customer who chooses to enable capabilities such as file sharing, print sharing, or other capabilities that allow users to gain access to their computer, hereby acknowledges and agrees that they do so at their own risk, and that McMaster shall have no liability whatsoever for any claims, losses, actions, damages, suits or proceedings arising out of or otherwise relating to such use. 

FTP/HTTP Server Setup.  You should be aware that when your computer is connected to the network (and Internet) there are certain applications, such as FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server and HTTP (web) server which may allow McMaster University network users to gain access to files on your computer.  If you choose to run such applications, you should take the appropriate security measures.  McMaster shall have no liability whatsoever for any claims, losses, actions, damages, suits or proceedings resulting from, arising out of or otherwise relating to the use of such applications by you, including, without limitations, damages resulting from other users accessing your computer. 

Software or other content downloaded from the network may contain a virus, lock, key, bomb, worm, trojan horse or other harmful or debilitating feature and it is your sole responsibility to take appropriate precautions to protect your computer from damage to its software, files and data.   McMaster shall have no liability whatsoever for any damage to or loss or destruction of any software, files or data resulting from any virus, lock, key, bomb, worm, trojan horse or other harmful or debilitating feature. 

Prohibited Uses of MacOnline include but are not limited to the following

You may not directly or indirectly use your MacOnline connection: 

  • To invade another person's privacy; unlawfully use, possess, post, transmit or disseminate obscene, profane or pornographic material; post, transmit, distribute or disseminate content which is unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, defamatory or otherwise offensive or objectionable; unlawfully promote or incite hatred; or post, transmit or disseminate objectionable information, including, without limitation, any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any municipal, provincial, federal or international law, order or regulation; 
  • To access any Computer, software, data or any confidential, copyright protected or patent protected material of any other person or company, without the knowledge and consent of such persons or company. To probe the McMaster network or other computers connected to the McMaster network, or any other network or computers; 
  • To upload, post, transmit, reproduce, or distribute in any way, information, music, software or other material obtained through Service which is protected by copyright, or other proprietary right, or derivative works with respect thereto, without obtaining permission of the copyright owner or rightholder; 
  • To copy, distribute or sublicense any software provided by the university, except that you may make one copy of each software program for backup or archival purposes only; 
  • To conduct or advertise a business; 
  • To alter, modify or tamper with the Equipment or Service, including any attempt to avoid detection of your network use; 
  • To restrict, inhibit, or otherwise interfere with the ability of any other person to use or enjoy the  Equipment, the service or the Internet, including, without limitation, posting or transmitting any  information or software which contains a virus, lock, key, bomb, worm, trojan horse or other harmful or debilitating feature; or generating levels of traffic sufficient to impede others ability to send or receive information; 
  • To disrupt the University's network or network services (for example, by running a network server application such as DHCP, which may interfere with the University's services); 
  • To re-sell MacOnline services; 
  • Operation of a LAN or an Internet Service Provider's business or for any other business enterprise in competition with MacOnline; 
  • To contravene the University policies posted at,,

Help, I am being abused:

The internet connects computers throughout the world. Not everyone follows the same rules that we do. Not everyone will respect your rights or privacy. You may find that some of the information available via the internet is objectionable. You may find that some of the messages sent by people on the internet are objectionable. We have no control over other sites on the internet. 

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

  • ignore it, 
  • write to the person to 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 you receive objectionable messages from people off campus, you may take one or more of the following actions: 
  • write to the person to 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, 
  • if appropriate, contact the police. 
Any reports of harassment that are received by UTS will be reported to the Associate Vice-President, (Student Affairs). 

If you believe that your computer has been broken into or like activities, contact the Technology Service Desk, T13-127, Ext 24357 or email and they will notify the appropriate UTS staff person.  Please remember that the University is not responsible for protecting your computer or ensuring that it is set up properly. 

Parts of this document have been copied from the University of Georgia Policy on Use of Computers dated June 16, 1997.

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