Additional Policies from Harvard University Information Technology

Unauthorized use of the Harvard network, computer systems, or facilities is prohibited.

Security and Privacy

  • Students understand that timesharing and network-based system activity is automatically logged on a continuous basis. These logs do not include private user text, mail contents, or personal data, but do include a record of user processes that may be examined by authorized system administrators.
  • The staff of HUIT consider student accounts to be the private property of individuals who have opened them, and as a result will never ask students to reveal their passwords. However, students who request assistance from HUIT give the staff implicit permission to view specific data in their accounts that is necessary to investigate, diagnose, or correct the problem.

Use of Facilities

  • Students should not attempt to exploit, test, or probe for suspected security holes on Harvard computers or networks, but instead should report them to HUIT. Likewise, students should not disseminate to others any information that serves to circumvent or degrade system or network security or integrity.
  • Physical theft, rearrangement, or damage to any University computer or network equipment, facilities, or property is strictly prohibited, and will be reported to the police. This includes all public computer labs, network hubs, wiring, and links.
  • HUIT must ensure that academic work takes precedence at all times over other computing activities in its facilities. In situations of high user demand that may strain available computer resources, HUIT reserves the right to restrict (e.g., to specific times of day) or prohibit computer entertainment activities such as game playing. Similarly, loud or disruptive behavior that may hinder academic work in the computer labs is not permitted.
  • Individuals must abide by all official posted rules and official communications from HUIT regarding use of facilities and resources.

Use of the Harvard Network

  • Students with personal computers on the Harvard network are expected to take reasonable precautions to ensure the security of their systems. Individuals may be held responsible for misuse by others that occurs on their systems.
  • HUIT reserves the right to scan the Harvard network and systems connected to it to assist in identifying and protecting against exploitable security vulnerabilities (e.g., viruses) and to preserve network integrity and availability of resources (e.g., sufficient bandwidth). Computers may be disconnected from the network until security issues have been resolved. Students may not scan the Harvard network or computers that they do not own or officially administer.
  • Attempts to monitor, analyze, or tamper with network data packets that are not explicitly addressed to your computer are prohibited.
  • Using a network address other than the one assigned by HUIT is prohibited.
  • Students are not permitted to register external domain names (i.e., any domain outside of that reference systems on the Harvard network without authorization.
  • Students may not advertise routing information on the Harvard network or act as gateways to external or private networks.
  • It is prohibited to create secondary physical networks, using devices including bridges, routers, or wireless access points, connected to the Harvard network without authorization.
  • Providing services or running applications that consume excessive bandwidth or impede others' use of the Harvard network is prohibited without authorization.
  • Due to the security risks posed to the network by these devices, students are not permitted to connect wireless printers to the Harvard network.

Electronic Communication

  • Those who make use of online forums and other network communication utilities (e.g., Newsgroups and the Web) do so voluntarily, with the understanding that they may encounter material they deem offensive. Individuals who subscribe, post messages, or simply browse through such utilities must abide by the rules governing each in addition to Harvard's rules governing computing on campus.
  • Although unauthorized commercial work is prohibited on Harvard systems and networks, some online forums allow the posting of job opportunities and personal items for sale. Such activity is permissible within the constraints of policies specific to each forum. Harvard University takes no responsibility for any fraud or misrepresentation users may encounter.

Cases of Misconduct

  • Harvard University reserves the right to terminate access at any time to anyone whose use of its resources violates the law or threatens system or network security, performance, or integrity. This includes the ability to terminate running processes or active connections.
  • In cases of computer misconduct, HUIT may notify the appropriate dean or University official, who in turn will determine the course of any investigation or disciplinary action.


  • Students recognize that systems and networks are imperfect and waive any responsibility for lost work or time that may arise from their use. The staff of HUIT cannot compensate students for degradation or loss of personal data, software, or hardware as a result of their use of University-owned systems, software, or networks, or as a result of assistance they may seek from HUIT staff.
See also: Knowledge