IT Services     

Appropriate Use of Information and
Communication Technology

The University’s information and communication technology (ICT) resources provide a rich array of services to our community. Ensuring the continuing utility and availability of these resources is the responsibility of service providers and consumers. These guidelines are a summary of the Vice-President and Provost policy on the Appropriate Use of Information and Communication Technology and can be viewed at the link at the bottom of this page.

ICT provided by the University for the use of employees, students, and other members of the University community is the property of the University and is intended to be used in a manner that is consistent with the University's mission.

These guidelines apply to all of the University's information and communication technologies, including, hardware such as personal computers, scanners, telephones and printing devices, as well as software and other forms of information and communication technology. The use of personally-owned equipment on the University’s networks is covered by these guidelines as this involves the use of University resources. These guidelines also address the services that are provided through the University's ICT, including e-mail, Internet access, departmental network services, telephone, fax and voice-mail, and other technologies.

Users of University ICT are expected to limit their use to the performance of University-related activities, although a reasonable allowance will be made for personal use. Whether or not an amount of personal use would be considered reasonable would depend on the particular circumstances and the applicable laws and policies. Users of University ICT are required to abide by all applicable laws and policies in addition to these guidelines. Reasonable personal use does not include in any circumstances the visiting of pornographic websites, the storage or distribution of pornographic material, or the accessing, storage or distribution of unlawful or otherwise inappropriate (within the meaning of the guidelines) information.

Users should not have an expectation of complete privacy in using the University's ICT and related services. The issue of privacy is discussed further within these guidelines.

There are two fundamental principles that the University follows in determining when usage of its ICT is unacceptable. One is the quantity of resources consumed; the other, the quality of the information transmitted. The former is primarily an issue of fairness - of the equitable distribution of ICT resources; the latter is an issue of the legality and potential harmfulness of the information content, which is assessed according to the policies, codes and external laws that govern behaviour within the University.

Fair Allocation of Resources

The University of Toronto has many facilities and services that provide ICT to users. Since the capacity of the resources is finite, there are limitations that may be imposed upon the use of specific services. For example the University's Wireless network has a weekly bandwidth limit.

The providers of services have the authority to implement, monitor, and apply the rules and Guidelines.

Appropriate Use of Resources

Freedoms: The University of Toronto is committed to maintaining respect for the core values of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. In matters of freedom of speech versus responsible speech, it should be noted that speech using ICT is not intrinsically different from speech that does not use ICT. While the University does not censor information on its networks and servers, it will act on allegations about the distribution of unlawful material, about the use of its information technology to direct abusive, threatening or harassing communication at any individual or about any other inappropriate use.

Privacy: The University respects the reasonable privacy of electronic files stored or distributed on its servers and networks. However, users cannot have an expectation of complete privacy when using the University’s ICT. ICT resources remain the University's property, and are provided to advance the University's mission. Accordingly, the University reserves the right to examine any electronic files where the University, in its sole discretion, determines that it has reason to do so.

In addition to the University's broad right to examine electronic files, as set out above, some policies address the University's rights with respect to particular data. For example: Student and personnel records are subject to a policies regarding access to and disclosure of specified information.

It is essential that all users of the University's ICT recognize that it is possible for unauthorized individuals to monitor transmissions on networks in certain circumstances. It is also possible, for example, to create and send counterfeit mail under the name of another person and in a manner which makes it appear the message has emanated from the named user's desktop.

Authorization of Access

Access to ICT resources may only be provided by the personnel who are responsible for those systems. A person who has been given such access does not, in general, have the authority to extend that privilege to anyone else.

Individuals who have been assigned an e-mail or computer account have a responsibility not to share their access with anyone else, even for the sake of convenience. Users should never share their passwords, nor should they permit other people to access or use their account by any other means.

Individuals are responsible for the actions taken under their identity.

Discrimination, Harassment, Intellectural Property Right Violations, and other Illegal Activities

Issues of Discrimination, Harassment, Intellectural Property Right Violations, Unauthorized Disclosure of Information, and other Illegal Activities are covered by the policies listed in the References below as well as various legal statutes, whether or not ICT is involved. Any reported incidents of these types of activities will be investigated.


Appropriate Use of Information and Communication Technology
Student Code of Conduct
Code of Behaviour for Academic Matters
Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment
Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment
Policy on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Policy on Access to Student Academic Records

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