See Also: Policy 4810: Telecommunications Use
Infractions of the TMCC Telecommunications Use Policy may give rise to disciplinary action under NAC 284 and the "Prohibitions and Penalties" sections of the State of Nevada Rules for State Personnel Administration, and NSHE Policies, Title 2, Chapter 6.
Any offense that violates local, state, or federal laws may result in the immediate loss of all TMCC telecommunication systems access privileges and will be referred to the appropriate TMCC offices and/or law enforcement authorities.
Rights and Responsibilities
Computers, networks and telecommunication systems can provide access to resources on and off campus, as well as the ability to communicate with other users worldwide. Such open access is a privilege and requires that individual users act responsibly. Users must respect the rights of other users, respect the integrity of the system and related physical resources, and observe all relevant laws, regulations, and contractual obligations. Since electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, Users must exercise care in acknowledging and respecting the work of others through strict adherence to software licensing agreements and copyright laws.
Existing Legal Context
All existing laws (federal and state) and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) regulations and policies apply, including not only those laws and regulations that are specific to computers and networks, but also those that may apply generally to personal conduct. (NSHE Policies, Title 4, Chapter 1)
Users do not own accounts on TMCC computers, but are granted the privilege of exclusive use. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (Title 18 U. S.C. section 2510 et. seq.), users are entitled to privacy regarding information contained on these accounts. This act, however, allows system administrators or other TMCC employees to access user files in the normal course of their employment when necessary to protect the integrity of computer systems or the rights or property of the TMCC or NSHE. For example, system administrators may examine or make copies of files that are suspected of misuse or that have been corrupted or damaged.
User files may be subject to search by law enforcement agencies under court order if such files contain information that may be used as evidence in a court of law. In addition, student files on TMCC computer facilities are considered "educational records" under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Title 20 U.S.C. section I 232[g]).
Misuse of computing, networking, telecommunications or information resources may result in the loss of computing, network and/or telecommunication systems access. Additionally, misuse can be prosecuted under applicable statutes. Users may be held accountable for their conduct under any applicable NSHE, TMCC, or campus policies, procedures, or collective bargaining agreements. Illegal production of software and other intellectual property protected by U.S. copyright law is subject to civil damages and criminal punishment including fines and imprisonment. TMCC supports the policy of EDUCOM on "Software and Intellectual Rights."
TMCC is not responsible for loss of information from computing misuse, malfunction of computing hardware, malfunction of computing software, or external contamination of data or programs. It cannot be guaranteed that, in all instances, copies of critical data will be retained for all systems. It is ultimately the responsibility of computer users to obtain secure backup copies of their own files for disaster recovery.
Both the nature of electronic communications and the public character of the TMCC's business make electronic communications less private than users may anticipate, and confidentiality of electronic communications should not be expected. Users, therefore, should exercise extreme caution in using electronic communications to communicate confidential or sensitive matters. The TMCC has the right to inspect, monitor, or disclose electronic communications which utilize any TMCC owned equipment. Without prior notice and without consent, the TMCC may perform routine maintenance or system administration of computers and other electronic communications equipment which may result in observation of the contents of files and communications.
Electronic communications that utilize TMCC equipment, whether or not created or stored on TMCC equipment, may constitute a TMCC record subject to disclosure under state, federal or other laws, or as a result of litigation.
The TMCC cannot guarantee that users will not receive electronic communications they may find offensive, nor can the TMCC guarantee the authenticity of electronic communications received, or that electronic communications received were in fact sent by the purported sender. Users are solely responsible for materials they access and disseminate on the TMCC's telecommunications systems.
Telephone systems shall be accessed primarily for business purposes. TMCC personnel shall not make personal long distance telephone calls from TMCC telephones unless it is an emergency.
The Information Technology Office monitors the usage of long distance calls, including originating phone number/office locations, call destinations, duration of calls, etc.
While PINs are not required in offices, they are required in classrooms and designated study rooms. PINs can be obtained by contacting IT Customer Service. Please note that PINs change on a monthly basis.
TMCC is embracing the philosophy of security in depth. Although the emphasis of centralized security over decentralized access set reflects a major paradigm shift, every effort has been made to ensure essential services and research initiatives will not be negatively impacted. It is clear that consistency in firewall, wireless access and overall network management and rule establishment coupled with timely administration is essential for the TMCC to maintaining secure communications links and trusts. It is recognized that there will be times when exceptions to security rules may need to be granted on a temporary, semi permanent or permanent basis; for these special cases, there is an additionally established procedure and policy for considering the implementation of firewall rule exceptions.
Infractions (including but not limited to the following)
- Altering or attempting to alter files or systems without authorization.
- Attempting to alter any TMCC computing or network components without authorization or beyond one's level of authorization, including but not limited to bridges, routers, switches, wiring, and connections.
- Attempting to monitor or tamper with another user's electronic communications, or reading, copying, changing, or deleting another user's files or software without the explicit agreement of the owner.
- Connecting unauthorized equipment to the campus network or computers.
- Deliberately wasting/overloading computing resources, such as printing excessive copies of a document.
- Displaying obscene, lewd, or sexually harassing images or text in a public computer, facility, or location that can be in view of others.
- Failure to comply with authorized requests from designated TMCC officials to discontinue activities that threaten the operation or integrity of computers, systems or networks.
- Forging the identity of a user or machine in an electronic communication.
- Initiating or propagating electronic chain letters or inappropriate mass mailing. This includes, but is not limited to, multiple mailings to the TMCC Campus, newsgroups, mailing lists, or individuals.
- Intentionally or negligently performing an act that places an excessive load on a computer or network to the extent that other users may be denied service or the use of electronic networks or information systems may be disrupted.
- Knowingly or carelessly performing an act that will interfere with the normal operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or networks.
- Knowingly or carelessly running or installing on any computer system or network, or giving to another user a program intended to damage or to place excessive load on a computer system or network. This includes, but is not limited to, programs known as computer viruses, Trojan horses, and worms.
- Negligently or intentionally revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by others of TMCC assigned accounts for computer and network access. Individual password security is the responsibility of each user. The user is responsible for all uses of their accounts, independent of authorization.
- Providing services or accounts on TMCC computers or via TMCC networks to other users from a personal computer unless required to meet the normal activities of students working as individuals or in collaborative groups to fulfill current course requirements.
- Registering a TMCC IP address with any other domain name or the TMCC name without authorization.
- Transmitting or reproducing materials that are slanderous or defamatory in nature or that otherwise violate existing laws, NSHE, or TMCC regulations.
- Transmitting sensitive or confidential data over an unsecured wireless network.
- Unauthorized attempts to circumvent data protection schemes or uncover security loopholes. This includes creating and/or running programs that are designed to identify security loopholes and/or decrypt intentionally secure data.
- Unauthorized scanning of ports, computers and networks.
- Unauthorized use of a computer account or using campus resources to gain unauthorized access to any computer system and/or using someone else's computer without their permission or otherwise utilizing network or system identification numbers, accounts or names that are not assigned for one's specific use.
- Using TMCC resources for commercial activity such as creating products or services for sale.
- Using electronic mail to harass or threaten others. This includes, but is not limited to, sending repeated, unwanted email to another user.
- Violating terms of applicable software licensing agreements, copyright laws, or their fair use provisions through inappropriate reproduction or dissemination of copyrighted text, images, etc.
- Minor infractions of these procedures, when accidental, such as consuming excessive resources or overloading computer systems, are generally resolved informally by the unit administering the accounts or network. This may be done through electronic mail or in person discussion and education.
- Repeated minor infractions or misconduct that is more serious may result in the temporary or permanent loss of computer access privileges or the modification of those privileges. More serious violations include, but are not limited to, unauthorized use of computer resources, attempts to steal passwords or data, unauthorized use or copying of licensed software, repeated harassment, or threatening behavior.
- The Director of Human Resources and/or the Associate Dean of Student Support Services will be notified of infractions depending on whether the infraction involves a TMCC employee or student. In addition, offenders will be referred to their sponsoring advisor , department, employer, or other appropriate TMCC office for further action. It will be the responsibility of the supervisor to inform the appropriate vice president.
- If the individual is a student, the matter may be referred to the Associate Dean of Student Support Services for disciplinary action.