Introduction to Policy on Acceptable Use of Princeton University IT and Digital Resources
The Acceptable Use Policy for Princeton University Information Technology and Digital Resources (this “Policy”) governs all use of Princeton University information technology, digital resources, and Internet access. Departments, programs and offices of the University that create specialized computing or network policies for their constituencies must work with the University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) before doing so in order to ensure that such specialized policies are consistent with, and not in conflict with, the Policy. Once approved, such specialized policies will be cross-referenced in future editions of the Policy.
In addition, Princeton's information technology resources and the access provided by the University to global networks and networked and digital resources are governed by the general policies and rules set forth in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities (RRR). For example, policies and rules set forth in RRR that apply to property, privacy, civility and publication in the physical sense also apply to those areas when they involve computers or mobile devices; when they entail use of, or publication via the World Wide Web, including, but not limited to, websites, message boards, wikis, chat rooms, social networks, media-sharing sites, and other similar electronic venues; when they involve participation in MOOCs or virtual reality or gaming environments, or whether the technology involved is something like multi-user gaming, University-provided voice technology such as telephony Unified Messaging, locally-produced and broadcast video, or YouTube or other public arena videos or images involving University activities or operations. Individuals also are expected to be familiar with and comply with the requirements of the University's Information Security Policy (www.princeton.edu/informationsecurity).
Reasons for this Policy
Some rules for appropriate use of the University's information technology resources derive from legal considerations. For example, the University must ensure that its non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service is not compromised by inappropriate political campaign or commercial activity. The University must also address actions that may violate its agreements with outside vendors. Additionally, these rules are intended to ensure that University resources and spaces are used to advance the University’s mission of teaching and research, while enhancing and embracing our diverse community.
The University is a "carrier" of information via electronic channels rather than a "publisher" and hence, except with regard to official University publications, not expected to be aware of, or responsible for, materials or communications that individuals may post, send, or publish via the World Wide Web, Internet discussion groups, Facebook, YouTube, or any social networks; make available via any file-sharing method; or send via e-mail, tweeting, instant messaging or video; or any actions taken by individuals’ avatars within on-line virtual reality or gaming environments. However, under certain circumstances, the University may be required to respond to complaints regarding the nature or substance of such materials or communications.
The examples presented in this Policy focus on matters related to information technology, but derive their broader meaning and significance from the basic rights, rules and responsibilities that apply to all aspects of the University community. The examples are illustrative, not exhaustive. If something is not specified in the Policy as inappropriate, it still may violate the principles set forth in Rights, Rules, Responsibilities and be subject to University sanction. It is important to use common sense and critical thinking in evaluating new situations.
Because technology changes so rapidly, and the human imagination is boundless in exploring what technology can do, this Policy must and will continue to evolve. In addition, the University's Rights and Rules Committee and the Council for the Princeton University Community (CPUC) are charged with the task of revising Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, and any changes made to RRR could affect the language of this Policy.