Be Aware: The Rules

In The Risks, we discussed some of the risks of being connected to the Internet. In this session, we’ll discuss some of the regulations and policies that were put in place to protect us from those risks.

It is your responsibility to be aware of and comply with all federal and state laws, as well as the policies of the University. Since failing to comply with these rules could result in the loss of network privileges or even dismissal from the university as a student or employee, we’ll do our best to make you aware of the common situations or scenarios you may encounter as you make use of OSU’s network.

Acceptable Use of University Computing Resources

The University has a set of rules called the Acceptable Use Policy. This sets out the standard guidelines for behavior on our network. We’d encourage you to read and understand the entire policy. In brief, the Acceptable Use Policy, or AUP, requires us all to be good citizens of the network, or “netizens.” To be a good netizen, you:

You should also be awareAUP that while OSU respects your privacy, your use of university computing resources is not completely private. There are circumstances where there is a legitimate reason for OSU to monitor and record the usage of all computing resources. This can either be done for performance issues, say, in the diagnosis of a technical problem, or as a result of a legal action, such as a court order for information or a legal request for discovery. OSU has the right to monitor your activities on the network if there is reason to believe that there are activities taking place in violation of Federal, State or local law or in violation of University Policy. Finally, some of your files may be deemed to be public records, which would be released if a request is made under public records laws.

Student Records

Both employees and students at Oregon State University need to be aware of the information that is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, more commonly known as FERPA. This federal law protects the privacy of educational records, including:

Those who work with student information covered by FERPA should take special training. A link to that training, which is available to all who are interested, is in the links section to the left under Additional Information.

Music and Movie Sharing

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, is a federal law that makes it a crime to disseminate, without authorization, copyrighted works on the Internet. It also makes it a crime to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works. Digital Rights Management, or DRM, is one such measure that is covered by this law. 

Oregon State University takes a strong stand against violations of the DMCA. If you utilize the network to share music, videos and movies without permission, your access to the network may be terminated permanently. You would also be responsible to pay any fines or court fees associated with a violation of the DMCA. More information on the DMCA can be found in the links section of this website under Additional Information.

Identity Theft Protection

Identity Theft

The Oregon Identity Theft Protection Act was established to help protect Oregon citizens from the financial burden brought on by identity theft.  The act requires special care be taken when dealing with data elements that can be used for identity theft. These elements include social security numbers, credit card and financial account numbers and driver’s license numbers, state identity card numbers or Passport numbers. Do not store this information in electronic form on your computer!  Those who deal with this type of information on a regular basis need to be familiar with University policy regarding the appropriate use of and protection of these data elements.


In Be Aware: Respond, we’ll discuss some basic measures you can take to protect your computer and your data from risks.