Appropriate Use

Unauthorized use of University computing systems may involve transgression of University policy and violation of state and federal laws. Unauthorized use is a crime and may involve criminal and civil penalties.

Appropriate use of BCG computing resources includes:

research, instruction, scholarly communication and administration by UW-Madison faculty, staff and students;
any activities in support of the above

De minimis usage. From the UW Policy:

In the interest of making the use of IT resources a natural part of the day-to-day learning and work of all members of the University community, incidental personal use is tolerated. However, one should use non-University sources of email, Internet access, and other IT services for activities of an extensive nature that are not related to University purposes.

Inappropriate use of BCG computing resources includes:

  • commercial activities, use for partisan political purposes, and activities in support of groups not affiliated with the BCG;
  • extensive personal use; occasional personal use is allowed under the University’s de minimis usage guideline;
  • use for personal gain of electronic material not owned by the user and without the owner’s permission, even if access to the material has not been properly curtailed (e.g. you cannot steal someone else’s homework);
  • activities that interfere with the ability of other users to make effective use of the Department’s facilities;
  • use of the facilities to gain unauthorized access to any computer, account or piece of network equipment within or outside the University.
  • failure to abide by the rules of an external network when using that network from a BCG site;
    public display of distasteful or obscene material;
  • transmission of any material in violation of any U.S. or state regulation including, but not limited to:
    copyrighted material unless authorized by the copyright holder,
    threatening, harassing or obscene material,
    material protected by trade secret;
  • running an IRC or other chat room.


Only properly authorized persons may access the BCG facilities. Proper authorization is provided by BCG staff in the form of an account issued in the name of the authorized person. Users must not permit other persons to access BCG computers via their accounts, including colleagues, relatives or friends, and must follow BCG policy to prevent unauthorized use of their accounts. He or she will be held responsible if failure to do so results in excessive resource use, damage to the system or a compromise of its security.

In short, do not share your password.

Window borrowing, i.e. the use of a computer by another (the borrower) while a user is logged in (the lender) is permitted only if the lender is physically present during the entire borrowing session and monitors all activity by the borrower. The lender is responsible for making sure the borrower adheres to all policies. Window stealing, i.e. the use of a computer whose logged in user is absent is strictly prohibited except by BCG staff when absolutely necessary for system administration.

In addition to the general guidelines listed above, the following rules apply to the use of email.

Altering the source email address (i.e. spoofing) is not permitted.
Email should not be used to bombard large lists of users (i.e. spamming) with email they probably won’t want to see.
Email solicitation for non-university purposes is prohibited.
Harassment by email is prohibited and can lead to severe disciplinary action.

Disk Storage
The appropriate use guidelines above imply that users should not use a large amount of disk space for personal use, nor should they store copyrighted material without permission (e.g. copies of recorded music, pirated software).

While we make a concerted effort to keep up with the rapid growth of disk usage, there are times when a disk fills up. When this happens, all users of that disk are unable to get their work done. We therefore request that you check to verify there is enough room on the disk partition / shared drive before writing a large dataset. If you plan to create a file or directory larger than a hundred gigabytes, contact BCG before doing so.

BCG systems are operated under software license agreements with vendors. These licenses bind users to respect the proprietary nature of the software. Licensed software on BCG computers may not be copied to non-BCG sites.

The following network-related activities are prohibited:

adding network equipment to a BCG-supplied data jack without permission;
scanning another computer for vulnerabilities;
masquerading as another computer (IP spoofing).

Violation of Policies
If policy violation is judged to be minor or unintentional, we will discuss the violation, circumstances and consequences, if any, with the user. Those who intentionally violate major BCG policies may lose their access authorization for a period of time commensurate with the infraction. Repeat offenders may be denied access indefinitely. Disciplinary loss of BCG access authorization is always reported to the manager of BCG. Second offenses are also reported to the the Faculty Committee on Policy Abuse and may result in the indefinite loss of authorization to access the facility.