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Policy Statement

Princeton University makes available to its community members computing and network resources, including shared information technology resources that use text, voice, images, and video to deliver information.  These resources are to be used in a manner consistent with University policy and the law, including this policy, Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, the Information Security Policy and related policies created by specific departments, programs and offices of the University.

Who Is Affected By This Policy

The Acceptable Use Policy for Princeton University Information Technology and Digital Resources applies to all active members of the University community, including faculty, students, staff, and affiliates, and to authorized visitors, guests, and others for whom University technology resources and network access are made available by the University.   This policy also applies to campus visitors who avail themselves of the University’s temporary visitor wireless network access service or eduroam access, and to those who register their computers and other devices through Conference and Event Services programs or through other offices, for use of the campus network. 

What Is Covered By This Policy

This policy applies to University-owned devices and systems and to University-contracted systems and services, as well as privately-owned or publicly-provided devices using the University’s networks and resources.  It applies to technology administered within the University Internet domain by individual departments or members of the faculty or staff or by campus organizations, to information services hosted by dorm-resident students or by authorized resident visitors on their own hardware connected to the campus network; to the resources administered by central administrative departments such as University Libraries or OIT; to authorized collaborative devices connected to the campus network and using University Internet addresses; to personally-owned devices connected by wire or wireless service to the campus network from University-owned housing or via campus locations providing mobile wired access or wireless access; and to actions originating from computer systems or mobile devices maintained or used by members of the campus community off-campus including in student eating clubs, but connecting remotely to the University's network services and under the aegis of the University's name.  It applies to websites bearing the University credentials, even when hosted outside the University’s Internet domain.


1.  Acceptable Use

a.  Institutional Use

Use of all University information technology and digital resources should be for purposes that are consistent with the non-profit educational mission and the policies and legal requirements (including license agreements and terms of service) of the University, and not for commercial purposes.

b.  Personal Use

Personal use of the University’s information technology and digital resources, except for students enrolled at the University, should be incidental and kept to a minimum.

c.  Prohibited Use

Use of the University’s information technology and digital resources should not violate applicable federal, state, and local law, including U. S. copyright law, or applicable University policies, and, if travel is involved, the laws of the relevant nation or state.   From any location, University resources may not be used to transmit malicious, harassing or defamatory content. 

d.  Political Use

As a 501(c)(3) organization, the University is prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office, and no substantial part of the University’s activities may be directed to influencing legislation (i.e. lobbying).  Individuals may not use University technological resources for political purposes in a manner that suggests the University itself is participating in campaign or political activity or fundraising, or for influencing legislation.  Any other use with respect to political activity must be permitted by applicable University policy and consistent with applicable laws.

2.  Access and Privacy

In general, and subject to applicable law, the University reserves the right to access and copy information and files (including e-mail and voice messages) residing on University-owned equipment, systems, and residing in storage contracted by the University from outside enterprises. This includes access without notice, where justified by the University’s operational and/or legal needs and consistent with applicable laws.

Students, for whom the University effectively is a residence during the academic year, normally are afforded a high degree of privacy. University employees are afforded a lesser degree of privacy with respect to business-related systems and information.  In the event that business-related information or files (including e-mail and digitized voice messages) must be accessed based on business need or where required by law, they may be accessed by the University after consultation with the Office of the General Counsel and among the appropriate University offices (e.g. Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, Office of Human Resources, Office of Dean of the Faculty, Office of Dean for Research and/or Department of Public Safety).

3.  Protection of University Resources

Users of University information technology and digital resources are responsible for protecting University data, including its confidentiality, integrity, access, retention and disposal, in accordance with the University’s Information Security Policy (www.princeton.edu/oit/it-policies/it-security-policy), Record Retention Policy (records.princeton.edu) and other applicable University policies.  Individuals with University accounts or administrative responsibility over any University resources should take reasonable measures to protect these accounts and resources.  Shared University technological resources should be used for educational purposes and to carry out the legitimate business of the University, and should not be used in a way that disrupts or otherwise interferes with any University activities or systems or that is inconsistent with the University’s policies or goals. 

4.  Violations and Penalties

Violations of the policy may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal from employment, expulsion from further study and termination, or suspension of network privileges.

Further Guidance

Details and examples regarding particular aspects of this policy may be found in the document “Guidelines for Compliance with the Acceptable Use Policy,” available as itpolicy.princeton.edu/guidelines.