Effective date of the policy: 13 January 2005
Last updated: 4 May 2011
Policy owner: ICTS
Policy approved by: UICTC
Table of contents

Computing and networking are crucial to teaching, research and administration. The University recognises the many benefits from the use of information technology by students and staff. UCT maintains computing and networking facilities for the purpose of conducting and fostering the teaching, research and administration activities of the University.


The Appropriate use of computer facilities policy is designed to ensure the proper use of computing facilities consistent with the general principles that govern our academic community. To maximise the usefulness of computing facilities, UCT provides access in the most open manner permitted by the owners or providers of the computing facilities.


In this policy, the term, "computer facilities", is defined to include computers, computer networks, connections to external computer networks, and subscriptions to external computer services. "Licensed Software" collectively refers to copyrighted and proprietary programs, data and documentation.

Applicable to

All users of UCT computer facilities (staff and students). This policy should be read in conjunction with the Policy and Rules on Internet and Email Use.


The Executive Director of Information and Communication Technology Services may approve exceptions.

Policy summary

This policy outlines the prohibited activities, mailing lists and use of external computer facilities at UCT.

NOTE: The failure of any computing facility to prevent unauthorised use of that computing facility does not relieve an individual of the responsibility of obtaining authorisation prior to his or her use of the computing facility.

Policy details
  1. Prohibited activities

The following activities involving use of Computer Facilities are prohibited:

1.1 Transmitting unsolicited information which contains obscene, indecent, rude and erotic material or other material which explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct.
1.2 Transmitting unsolicited information which contains profane language or panders to bigotry, sexism, or other forms of discrimination.
1.3 Transmitting information which threatens bodily harm or which intimidates another person or organisation.
1.4 Communicating any information concerning any password, identifying code, personal identification number or other confidential information without the permission of its owner or the controlling authority of the computer facility to which it belongs.
1.5 Creating, modifying, executing or retransmitting any computer program or instructions intended to gain unauthorised access to, or make unauthorised use of, a computer facility or Licensed Software.
1.6 Creating, modifying, executing or retransmitting any computer program or instructions intended to obscure the true identity of the sender of electronic mail or electronic messages, collectively referred to as "Messages", including, but not limited to, forgery of Messages and/or alteration of system and/or user data used to identify the sender of Messages.
1.7 Accessing or intentionally destroying software in a computer facility without the permission of the owner of such software or the controlling authority of the facility.
1.8 Making unauthorised copies of Licensed Software.
1.9 Communicating any credit card number or other financial account number without the permission of its owner.
1.10 Effecting or receiving unauthorised electronic transfer of funds.
1.11 Violating any laws or participating in the commission or furtherance of any crime or other unlawful or improper purpose.
1.12 Using the computer facilities in a manner inconsistent with the University's contractual obligations to suppliers of computer facilities or with any published University policy.
1.13 Using the computer facilities for commercial purposes.
1.14 Violating the provisions of copyright, particularly on software, data and publications.
1.15 Broadcasting email messages indiscriminately to all users of a computing facility. The broadcast of messages concerning the use of a facility by the manager of a facility is a specific exception.
  1. Mailing lists

Potential subscribers to electronic mailing lists are responsible for determining the purpose of the list before subscribing. Persons subscribing to an electronic mailing list will be viewed as having solicited materials delivered by the list as long as the material is consistent with the list's purpose. Persons sending materials to a mailing list, which are not consistent with the purpose of the mailing list, will be viewed as having sent unsolicited materials.

  1. Use of external computer facilities

Use of external computer facilities is permitted for the purposes of teaching, research and administration. Use of UCT computing facilities for commercial purposes is expressly prohibited.

Policy violations

Failure to adhere to this policy could result in disciplinary procedures being instituted.