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Maintaining users' privacy and the privacy of information generated by or belonging to users is a prime objective of Computer Services. Computer Services staff with access to users' private physical or electronic space or information stored in that space, will always act to protect users' privacy to the fullest extent possible.

Office Space - Whenever possible, users will be notified before a CS staff member enters a user's office. A user request for support or submission of a trouble report constitutes permission to enter an office for the purpose of servicing that request.

Acceptance of computer equipment implies consent for emergency access to office space by Computer Services' staff.

Electronic Mail - Computer Services' staff members who have access to electronic mail directories on multi-user computer systems will not view users' private mail except in the following situations :

  • If requested to view a piece of mail for problem determination or to analyze a bounced mail message.
  • If necessary in order to locate a corrupt piece of mail that is causing problems with the user's computer.
  • When bounced mail messages are automatically forwarded to the Computer Services' staff person designated as "postmaster" on each multi-user system, that staff member may read the mail to the extent necessary to ascertain the problem. For incoming bounced messages, the postmaster will attempt to forward the mail to the correct local user. Outgoing bounced mail will be discarded.

When suspected illegal or prohibited activity becomes known to a Computer Services' staff person through viewing a user's private electronic or physical space (according to these guidelines), the activity will be reported to the Director of Computer Services and in the case of electronic space, the information will be sequestered to prevent alteration. The Director will initiate standard campus procedures for investigating suspected illegal or prohibited activity.

Due to the nature of computer networks, it is impossible to guarantee prevention of unauthorized access to data that is stored on the network. System administrators, for many reasons, require access to the entire network. This level of access gives them the ability to view any data on the network, including users' electronic mail correspondence. System administrators are bound by the above policy, however, the threat of unauthorized access remains. In addition, recent court rulings have upheld an organization's right to record electronic correspondence and use the contents against the author. Pegasus mail gives you two options for protecting your correspondence. It allows you to move your mailbox from the network to a local drive. In this case, only new, unread mail, is stored on the network. Secondly, you can encrypt, with a special key (password) a piece of mail so that only someone with the key can read the mail. If you are concerned about e-mail privacy, contact Computer Services for details about how to implement either or both of these strategies.

Submitted to campus policy process as extant policy, 3-21-96, goldstein

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Copyright © 1998 UMPI CS Contact.
Last Tableized Thursday, 5 Jul 2001