Internet Policies

Policy for Responsible Use of University of Wisconsin-Madison Information Technology Resources

This section is a copy of the campus Responsible Use Policy.

Access to electronic mail, the Internet, databases, computers and other information technology (IT) resources is essential to the mission of the UW-Madison (to create, integrate, transfer and apply knowledge), and the achievement of excellence requires their effective use by all members of the University community. Use of information technology must be consistent with the University’s mission and with its role as a public agency. Each member of the University community is expected to protect the integrity of these resources and to know and adhere to University rules, regulations and guidelines for their appropriate use. Regulations that govern personal conduct and use of University facilities* also apply to the use of IT resources. In addition, the following policy applies more specifically to use of IT resources:

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General Guidelines

Access to University IT resources is a privilege granted to members of the University community which carries with it the responsibility to use them for University related activities, exercising common sense and civility.

Individual Responsibility

Authorization for use of IT facilities is provided to each individual for his or her own use. No person may use an authorization which belongs to someone else. In many cases the University has obtained access to these resources exclusively for the use of members of the University community.


The protection of University IT resources depends heavily on each user’s careful handling of “keys” to these resources, since any account can serve as an entry point for theft, damage or unauthorized use. Users must protect the confidentiality of their personal identification codes and passwords and are expected to exercise reasonable care to insure that others cannot use their accounts.

Intellectual Property

Illegal downloading, distribution, copying of copyrighted materials or other activities that violate copyright law are strictly prohibited.


Persons may not obtain or use–or attempt to obtain or use–passwords, IP addresses or other network codes that have not been assigned to them as individuals or authorized for their use as University employees. Persons may not obtain–or attempt to obtain–unauthorized access to computer accounts, software, files, or any other University IT resources.

Malicious Activity

Persons may not alter or intentionally damage software or data belonging to someone else or interfere with another person’s authorized access to IT resources. Users may not intentionally disrupt or damage University computers or networks in any way.

Impersonation and Anonymity

Users of University IT resources may not send electronic messages with the sender’s identity forged or send anonymous messages unless the recipient has agreed to receive anonymous messages.

Commercial, Political and Non-University Activities

Persons may not use University IT resources to sell or solicit sales for any goods, services or contributions unless such use conforms to UW-Madison rules and regulations governing the use of University resources. University employees may not use these resources to support the nomination of any person for political office or to influence a vote in any election or referendum. No one may use University IT resources to represent the interests of any non-University group or organization unless authorized by an appropriate University department.

De Minimis Usage

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 e-mail, Internet access, and other IT services for activities of an extensive nature that are not related to University purposes.

State and Federal Laws

Persons may not use University computing facilities to violate state or federal laws.

* as published in the University of Wisconsin System Administrative Code and UW-Madison policies. For example, disruption of University activities, damage to facilities, physical threat, theft or harassment as described in UWS 17 and 18; student academic misconduct in UWS 14; selling, peddling and soliciting in UWS 18; and ethical standards for use of facilities by faculty and staff in UWS 8.

Violation of University rules governing responsible use of IT resources may result in loss of access privileges, University disciplinary action, and/or criminal prosecution.

University Housing reserves the right to suspend UWNet access to preserve the integrity of the network.

Policy for Responsible Use of UWNet Resources

These additional guidelines apply to the use of a UWNet network connection (wired or wireless) in the Division of University Housing.

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Individual Responsibility for Network Security

UWNet users are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure that their computer systems do not create a security risk when connected to the UWNet network. This would include but would not be limited to the following steps:

  • Students, staff and faculty must register their computer on the UWNet network using a campus NetID and password.  Guests of University Housing will be asked to provide registration information when they first access the UWNet network.
  • Run anti-virus software with current virus definitions.
  • Keep operating systems current with the latest patches and service packs offered by the vendor.
  • It is recommended that individual computers are protected by a personal firewall.
  • It is recommended that users perform regular scans for malware using anti-spyware software.
  • Exercise caution when opening e-mail. Never open e-mail attachments without first determining the reliability of the sender. Scan attachments using anti-virus software.
  • Exercise caution when opening instant messages. Never download unsolicited files offered from an unknown sender.

Copyright Laws

UWNet is to be used in accordance with all Copyright laws. This includes, but is not limited to; refraining from using your computer in a way that would violate any Copyright laws, such as operating or distributing pirated software or downloading or distributing copyrighted MP3 files without the owner’s permission.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 states that the unauthorized copying of copyrighted works is a criminal offense.

Propagation of UWNet Signal

Retransmission or propagation of the UWNet network connection through the use of switches, hubs, routers or wireless access points is allowed for personal use within a resident’s room or apartment. UWNet or DoIT Help Desk staffs do not provide technical support for these devices. Any troubleshooting of a user’s network connection will require that their computer be plugged directly into the data jack. Any device placed on the UWNet network must be secure and properly configured, and the person who registers the device will be solely responsible for any violation of campus network policies resulting from the use of the device. Any device that causes network-related problems or denies service to other users may be disconnected from the network without prior warning.

IP Addresses

All addresses on the UWNet network are assigned via the DHCP protocol.  Static IP addresses are not available.


UWNet services, equipment, wiring and/or jacks may not be tampered with or modified.  Many rooms have steel conduit running along the ceilings or other areas. This conduit houses the wires for your data, video and voice connections. It is very important that you do not hang any objects from these pipes. The conduit is not designed to carry weight and could pull away from the wall, damaging the wires inside. Because of the necessities of wiring for high-speed communication, damaged wires cannot be repaired and instead must be replaced. You will be charged the full cost for replacement of damaged wires, averaging $1,000. Be careful when working around the wall plates in your room. If your wall plates are damaged, you will be charged the full cost of replacement, averaging $75.

Housing Community Guidelines

In addition to the guidelines adopted for the entire University, as a member of your house, hall or apartment community, Information Technology (such as e-mail, listserves and web pages) may be used for community building and/or as a means to communicate.  You are expected to follow community guidelines that are established for your house, hall or apartment unit.

Reporting Network Abuses

If you receive harassing e-mail or witness other violations of any campus network policy, you may report the abuse to the DoIT Help Desk at (608) 264-4357 or via the DoIT website. If you fear for your physical safety as a result of electronic harassment, contact the police immediately.

If You File a Formal Complaint

Please include all evidence and background in your report. All submitted reports are taken seriously and cannot be retracted at a later date. Timing is critical so reports should be submitted as soon as possible. For additional information, visit the Campus Network Security Website.

Policy on Resident Use of Copyrighted Materials

The Internet is an essential tool for UW-Madison in support of its academic and research missions. It also enriches the lives of student residents as they pursue their academic and personal goals. Along with these benefits come challenges and responsibilities. One of the most critical is conforming to copyright laws. UW-Madison’s Responsible Use Policy is found at

Trading of copyrighted music, movies, games and software over the Internet may not be legal. You must have the prior consent of the copyright holder to download and/or trade these materials. Copying music, etc., without this consent is illegal. At UW-Madison, we take copyright violations seriously and such violations may result in the cancellation of network access privileges.

Most file-sharing programs install themselves with world-wide sharing enabled by default. So, any system with such software installed can easily be sharing materials with the world without the user(s) of the system being aware of this. If you have any questions about this software and how to ensure legal use, contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-HELP.

Should copyright infringement be suspected, the following UW-Madison policy will be enforced:

Copyright Violation Action

A resident is flagged for a copyright infringement violation by a copyright holder directly or indirectly through a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint (such as Cease and Desist e-mail notification). The alleged copyright infringement notice will be forwarded to the alleged infringer (tied to the accusing IP address). The resident will be notified of possible outcomes and of the steps they need to take to restore access to the network. The potential outcomes and further information can be found at the following links.

The copyright infringement policy and procedure as dictated by OCIS
Further information regarding copyright infringement