COMMON SENSE AND COMPUTER USE AT LEPP
The excellent computer complement that we are privileged to have at LEPP has been provided by the taxpayers of the United States and are now the property of Cornell University. Their sole purpose is to support the research mission of LEPP. From this fact flow several common sense notions about appropriate computer usage at the lab.
Uses that make our work more productive, efficient and innovative or that allow us to achieve scientific or technical accomplishments that would be impossible without computing power are uses blessed by common sense. It also has become common to consider as acceptable occasional private use of the Web to obtain information and use of email for short communications with family and friends as well as professional colleagues.
At the same time common sense tells us that inappropriate uses would include private activity that has any negative impact on laboratory related function, use for commercial activity, uses involving copyright violations or uses that consume noticeable lab computer resources for private purposes. The latter might involve tying up printers for more than occasionally printing a few pages, sending frequent or megabyte size files to friends or family members not engaged in lab research or loading the network with streaming video or widespread web radio. In addition, common sense tells us that the use of our computer facilities for activities that may be offensive to most folks or certainly those that are illegal is inappropriate. Such uses would include pornography, hate mail or politically extreme material that might incite persons to hate inspired activities. Obviously these are just examples, and you have to use your common sense to recognize other inappropriate activities that might impact legitimate use, offend others or create the possibility of putting the laboratory or the university in an embarrassing situation. With home computing and Internet access affordable by virtually everyone, there is no longer any excuse to use lab facilities for activities that anyone might consider inappropriate.
All can see that we currently have a marvelous freedom in the use of our powerful computer resources, a freedom that owes much to our responsible record in our use of them. Policies in other departments, enterprises and laboratories are much more restrictive and intrusive than what we have here. Common sense tells us that we can preserve this freedom through continued vigilance in our responsible use of the resource.
- 13 Mar 2006