Authorized and Acceptable Use of Electronic Information Resources


The University of California (University) recognizes and encourages the use of Electronic Information Resources (Resources) in support of the University's mission of education, research, community service, and patient care and to conduct University business. This Authorized and Acceptable Use Policy formally defines the scope of authorized and acceptable use of UCSF Resources.

Authorized User

Any UCSF faculty, staff, student, or other individual affiliated with UCSF who has been granted authorization to access or invoke Institutional Information for the purpose of performing his or her job duties or other functions directly related to his or her affiliation with UCSF. The authorization granted is for a specific level of access to the Institutional Information in accordance with University policy. An example of an Authorized User is someone who handles business transactions and performs data entry into a business application or someone who gathers information from an application or data source for the purposes of analysis and management reporting.

Computer Support Coordinator (CSC)

A CSC is a UCSF staff member who provides comprehensive support for computing technology within a defined department.

Electronic Information Resource (EIR)

A resource used in support of UCSF activities that involve the electronic storage, processing, or transmitting of data as well as the data itself. Electronic Information Resources include application systems, operating systems, tools, communications systems, and data—in raw, summary, and interpreted form—and associated computer server, desktop, communications, and other hardware used in support of UCSF activities. Personally owned systems are included in this definition if they connect to the UCSF network or are used to process or store UCSF information.

Exceptions to Policy

Any deviations from this Policy, as to the business need or operational requirement must be documented and reviewed by Enterprise Information Security to assess the appropriateness and impact of the exception. Documentation must include requestor, policy exception, reason for exception, and length of time. Documentation can be in the form of email, paper document, or electronic document.

Resource Proprietor

The individual designated responsible for the information and the processes supporting the University function. Resource Proprietors are responsible for ensuring compliance with federal or state statutory regulation or University policy regarding the release of information according to procedures established by the University, the campus, or the department as applicable to the situation. Examples of responsibilities of Resource Proprietors include: specifying the uses for a departmentally owned server; establishing the functional requirements during development of a new application or maintenance to an existing application; and determining which individuals may have access to an application or to data accessible via an application. All Instructional Information and IT Resources are University resources, and Resource Proprietors are responsible for ensuring that these Resources are used in ways consistent with the mission of the University as a whole.

Restricted Information

The term restricted information describes any confidential or personal information that is protected by law or policy and requires the highest level of security protection whether in storage or in transit. See BFB IS-2 for further discussion on Restricted Information.
Examples of Restricted Information include:
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) protected by SB1386
e.g. SSN number, driver license information, financial account information
Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI)
University financial information
Proprietary information
Information that, if disclosed, would cause embarrassment or damage to the University.

This Policy does not prohibit units within UCSF from having additional authorized and acceptable Use policies and guidelines as necessitated by legal constraints or business requirements. Deviations from this Policy, however, must be documented and be made available to affected Authorized Individuals.

A. Authorized Use

Usage of and access to UCSF Resources is limited to Authorized Users and is considered a privilege, not a right. UCSF reserves the right to revoke or curtail access privileges at any time and does not provide any guarantee for availability and reliability of Resources.

Access by Authorized Users shall be limited to the minimum needed to further the University's mission and to conduct University business. Controls shall be used to minimize risk of abuse and/or information security incidents.

For the purposes of this Policy, users of Resources meant for public use, including but not limited to Internet kiosks and publicly accessible web servers, are considered Authorized Users and fall within the scope of this policy.

B. Acceptable Use

Examples of acceptable and unacceptable uses are described below

1) Copyrights and Licenses—Users shall respect all copyrights and licensing agreements.

a. Copying—Software shall not be copied except as permitted by copyright law or a license agreement.

b. Number of simultaneous users—The number and distribution of copies shall be handled in such a way that the number of simultaneous users does not exceed the number of copies purchased, unless otherwise stipulated in the purchase contract.

c. Plagiarism—Copied material shall be properly attributed. Plagiarism of electronic information is subject to the same sanctions as in any other medium.

2) Integrity—Users shall not interfere with the normal operation of any Resources.

a. Modification, damage, or removal—Users shall not intentionally modify, damage, or remove Resources that are owned by the University or Users without proper authorization from UCSF or the owner of the Resource.

b. Encroaching on others' access and use—Users shall not intentionally encroach on others' access and use of Resources. This includes but is not limited to: the sending of chain-letters or excessive messages (size or volume); printing excessive copies; running grossly inefficient programs when efficient alternatives are available; unauthorized modification of Resources; attempting to disable or prevent authorized access to Resources.

c. Unauthorized or destructive programs—Users shall not intentionally develop or use programs such as, but not limited to: viruses, backdoors, and worms that disrupt other Users, access private or restricted portions of the system, identify security vulnerabilities, decrypt secure data, or damage the software or hardware components of a Resource. Legitimate academic pursuits for research and instruction that are conducted under the supervision of academic personnel are authorized to the extent that the pursuits do not compromise the University's Resources.

d. Disabling, modifying, testing, or circumventing security controls—Users shall not intentionally disable, modify, test, or circumvent any Resource security controls without authorization. This includes but is not limited to: disabling or circumventing authorization and authentication mechanisms; intentionally disabling, modifying or removing security logs; intentionally causing a security control to fail; running any programs that intentionally create numerous security control false positives; modifying networks to circumvent security monitoring or access controls; intentionally causing or creating the perception of an information security incident.

3) Unauthorized Equipment—Users shall not install or attach any equipment to a UCSF Resource without the approval of the owner, system administrator, or CSC for that Resource. Examples of equipment include: wireless access points, modems, disk drives, networking devices, personally owned computers, and flash memory.

4) Access—Users shall not seek or enable unauthorized access.

a. Authorization—Users shall not access Resources without proper authorization, or intentionally enable others to do so.

b. Authorization levels

i. User access levels shall not be greater than that required to conduct University business; i.e. a User who does not conduct system administration on a Resource should not be given system administrator privileges on that Resource.

ii. Users shall not attempt to obtain a higher authorization level without need and permission.

c. Password protection

i. A User who has been authorized to use a password-protected account shall not disclose the password or otherwise make the account available to others.

ii. Sharing of accounts is prohibited. Other methods, such as shared file permissions or temporary passwords should be used in cases in which data needs to be shared.

5) Use of Electronic Communication Records—Users may seek out, use, or disclose electronic communication records only for UCSF business in compliance with the UCSF Network Security Monitoring Policy and the Electronic Communications Policy (ECP).

6) Usage—Users shall comply with all applicable law and University policy.

a. Hostile working environment—Users shall not use Resources in a manner that creates a hostile working environment (including sexual or other forms of harassment), or that violates obscenity laws.

b. Unlawful activities—Users shall not use Resources for unlawful activities or activities that violate University policy, including fraudulent, libelous, slanderous, harassing, threatening, or other communications.

c. Mass messaging—Users shall avoid spamming, and other inappropriate mass messaging to newsgroups, bulletin boards, mailing lists, or individuals. Subscribers to an electronic mailing list will be viewed as having solicited any material delivered by the list so long as the material is consistent with the list's purpose.

d. Information belonging to other Users—Users shall not intentionally seek or provide information on, obtain copies of, or modify data files, programs, or passwords belonging to other Users without the permission of those other Users.

e. False identity—Users shall not use the identity of another User without the explicit approval of that User, or mask the identity of an account or machine.

7) Implying University Endorsement—Users shall not imply University endorsement of products or services of a non-University entity from a Resource without approval. Users shall not give the impression that the User is representing, giving opinions, or otherwise making statements on behalf of the University unless authorized to do so. To avoid such misrepresentation or misinterpretation, the User may use a disclaimer such as "The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California."

8) Protection of Restricted Information—Users are responsible for maintaining the security of restricted information. Refer to Section 2 for a definition of Restricted Information. Restricted Information that is not necessary for a User to conduct University business shall be removed from the Resource or shall have authorizations set such that it is inaccessible to that User.

9) Political or Religious Use—UCSF is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization and, as such, is subject to federal, state, and local laws regarding the use of University property.

In communications relating to religious or political activities or issues, the User's UCSF title may be used only for identification. If such identification might reasonably be construed as implying the support, endorsement, or opposition of UCSF respective to any religious or political activity or issue, a disclaimer shall be used, e.g. "The opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position of or endorsement by the University of California."

10) Incidental Personal Use—Authorized Users may use Resources for Incidental Personal Use purposes provided that such use does not directly or indirectly interfere with the University's operation of electronic communications resources; interfere with the user's employment or other obligations to UCSF; burden UCSF with noticeable incremental costs; or violate the law or UCSF policy.

a. Users are responsible for ensuring any Incidental Personal Use falls within this scope and may be held liable for any damages to UCSF associated with Incidental Personal Use.

b. Any Incidental Personal Use may become University records and subject to disclosure to the University and third parties.

c. Examples of Incidental Personal Use include, but are not limited to: visiting non-work related websites; sending personal emails; using instant messaging services for personal communications; accessing media for which the User has access rights.

11) Commercial UseResources shall not be used for non-University commercial purposes, except as permitted under University policy or with the appropriate approval.

12) AdvertisementsResources shall not be used to transmit commercial or personal advertisements, solicitations, or promotions, except as permitted under University policy and with the appropriate approval.

13) Non-University Sites and Resources—External non-University sites and resources that are accessible through UCSF Resources may have their own policies governing their use. Users are responsible for understanding and following UCSF policies and/or the remote resources' policies, whichever are more restrictive.

C. Administrative and Authorization Management

Resources shall use physical and logical authentication and authorization controls in accordance with University policy and appropriate to the risk level for that Resource.

Unauthenticated access and/or authorization shall only be granted if specifically necessitated by an operational requirement or in instances in which authentication and/or authorization are not technically feasible. Examples include but are not limited to: public Internet kiosks, web servers meant for public access, access to information meant for public access. Additional security controls, such as monitoring and logging, shall be deployed in such instances to reduce the risk of abuse and/or information security incidents. Refer to IS-3 for more information about appropriate controls.

Restricted Information must not reside on a Resource that allows unauthenticated access and/or authorization.

1) Account Management

a. Accounts may only be granted to Authorized Users and must be associated with an identifiable person. An example of an identifiable person is someone who is granted a UCSF ID number.

b. Accounts granted to a User who is not a UCSF faculty, staff, or student must designate a UCSF faculty or staff member as being responsible for the account. For further information refer to the UCSF Guest Access form. Guest Access must be reviewed and approved by an appropriate UCSF authority, such as a Department chair or a Dean, to ensure the appropriateness of the request.

c. Units responsible for granting access are responsible for ensuring timely removal of accounts and for ensuring that proper access levels are maintained.

d. Units are responsible for reviewing their accounts at least once a calendar year to ensure that all users are still Authorized Users and have appropriate access levels, and to remove or modify access where appropriate.

e. Persons who lose their affiliation with UCSF, i.e. they are no longer Authorized Users, shall have their accounts and access removed within a reasonable time frame, not exceeding 180 days. Refer to Section 2 for a definition of “Authorized User” and affiliation.

Example: When employees leave UCSF employment, their UCSF accounts should be disabled as soon as possible upon separation, but not to exceed 180 days past their separation date.

f. Accounts with access to Restricted Information must be terminated or have their access modified to prevent access to Restricted Information immediately upon a User's loss of affiliation with UCSF. Any deviation must be documented as an Exception to Policy.

g. Records of access approvals to Restricted Information should be retained consistent with the requirements of the University Records Disposition Program and Procedures (BFB RMP-2).

h. Accounts for employees who lose their affiliation by termination must have their accounts disabled or removed on the same day of termination.

i. An account that is not deleted upon loss of affiliation shall be transferred to another UCSF faculty or staff person designated as being responsible for the account.

j. An individual who terminates his or her UCSF affiliation, but still requires access to UCSF Resources, shall have access privileges modified to restrict access to only those required. All such Users shall be associated with a UCSF faculty or staff member who is capable of ensuring their continued access requirements and must have their access and affiliation with the UCSF faculty or staff member documented. Access by such individuals must be reviewed no less than annually to ensure that continued access is still required. For further information, refer to the UCSF Guest Access form.

Example: When a researcher leaves UCSF, but there is an operational need to occasionally collaborate with UCSF colleagues, access may be granted, provided that a UCSF faculty or staff person has been appointed as being responsible for this individual. Such access should be restricted to the minimum needed, reviewed on a periodic basis, and terminated when no longer required.

k. Accounts without activity for over 6 months (dormant accounts) shall be disabled and reviewed for possible deletion.

D. Implementation

Implementation of this Policy is the responsibility of each Department and School within UCSF and all Users. All Users are responsible for understanding this Policy and ensuring that their use falls within the scope of this Policy.

Deviations from this Policy must be documented and made available to affected Users. Temporary or minor deviations to this Policy may be handled as Exceptions to Policy and must be documented.

E. Violations and Sanctions

Minor or accidental violations of this Policy may be handled informally, either through electronic email, education, or discussion.

More serious or repeated Policy violations may result in temporary or permanent loss of access privileges or modification of these privileges.

Violators of this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion under applicable University policies and collective bargaining agreements. They may also be subject to any federal or state penalties for violations.

Individuals who become aware of a violation or potential violation of this Policy should inform their supervisor, department head, or Internal Audit.

In the event of a violation of this Policy that involves possible unlawful action by an individual, the Locally Designated Official, the employee's immediate supervisor, or other appropriate official should immediately be notified in accordance with the Policy on Reporting and Investigating Allegations of Suspected Improper Governmental Activities (the “Whistleblower Policy”). Notification should be made before any action is taken, unless prompt emergency action is required to prevent bodily harm, significant property loss or damage, loss of significant evidence of one or more violations of law or of University policy, or significant liability to the University or to members of the University community.

Resources found in violation of this Policy may be removed from the UCSF network or prohibited from connecting to the UCSF network until the violation is mitigated. Notifications of disconnects will be communicated to the Resource Proprietor as quickly as possible; however, Resources may be disconnected prior to notification.

UCSF may disconnect or limit access to a Resource, groups of Resources, the UCSF network, and the Internet without notice in order to protect Resources, both external and internal, under exigent circumstances.

Contact Responsible Office (above) with any questions.