Responsible Use Policy - Appendix A - Glossary and Definition of Terms


Ability given to individual or groups of users to use information stored on or via University resources. This includes but is not limited to the ability to read, write, view, create, alter, store, retrieve, and disseminate information.


That combination of user name and password that provides an individual with access to a computer system or computer network


An individual responsible for administering a computer system or campus unit

Authorized University Officials

Administrators or designees with the authority to make decisions about or approve a specific action, activity, service or use of a specific resource

Non-Authorized, Unauthorized

Applies to individuals without the authority or permission, as defined by the University, to initiate or approve an activity or service and/or to access or use a specific resource

Auxiliary Organizations

Non-State and self-support organizations affiliated with the University, including Cal Poly Corporation and Associated Students, Inc. (ASI)


Method for sending a uniform message to an entire set of users qualified by membership in a definable group such as faculty, staff, students, engineering majors, etc.

Campuswide Shared IT Resources

Information technology resources implemented and managed by Information Technology Services. Examples include the Cal Poly portal, wireless network, email and calendaring, "smart" classrooms and equipment checkout, etc.

Chain Letter

An e-mail message asking the recipient to indiscriminately forward or pass it along; may involve money-making pyramid schemes or be disguised as innocent (e.g., collecting post cards for a dying child) or helpful (e.g., warnings about computer virus hoaxes)

Commercial Activity

An activity conducted for commercial/private profit or gain or non-profit fundraising. This includes but is not limited to soliciting sales or funds, marketing or advertising a product or service, posting an advertisement to a newsgroup, and reselling University resources. University authorized commercial activities are excepted, e.g., University Store and Enterprise Project sales..

Computer Systems

Any computing resource, service, or network system, including workstations, laptops, tablets, smart phones, servers, networks, storage devices, peripheral equipment, input/output and connecting devices, data processing functions, and related records, programs, software and documentation.

Copying, distributing, publicly performing, publicly displaying a copyrighted work, or creating a derivative work, without the permission of, or a license from, the copyright owner

Distribution List

Enables the university, departments or individuals to maintain a list of email addresses and send send messages to all of them at once. Used to facilitates broadcast and large mailings as well as internal communications, e.g., between members of a committee.

Electronic Communications

Any electronic method used to communicate, including but not limited to electronic mail, the Internet/World Wide Web, video recordings, facsimiles, pagers, telephones, etc. Electronic communications has the same meaning as the term defined in Subsection 12 of Section 2510 of Title 18 of the United States Code.


Electronic method of sending and receiving messages from and to electronic addresses associated with specific owners

E-Mail Reflector

The automated or otherwise forwarding of an e-mail message to multiple recipients triggered by the content of the mail message being forwarded

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Federal law protecting students (and former students) from the release of educational related records retained by the University

Inappropriate Use

Activities that interfere with the primary intended use of supporting instructional activities, e.g., excessive game playing

Incidental Personal Use

Uses that do not consume a significant amount of campus resources, do not interfere with the performance of one’s job or other university responsibilities, are not made for personal commercial purposes or personal financial or other gain, are non political, and otherwise comply with applicable laws, rules, policies, contracts and licenses.

Information Technology Resources

Any data or information stored in digital form and the computer systems or other means used to access that information.

Information Technology Services

The administrative entity charged with implementing and managing campuswide information technology resources.

Institutional Data

Information about individuals and departments that is recorded, maintained, administered and retained by the University, e.g. information in student records and employee files, financial data, etc.

Intellectual Property

Inventions, discoveries, innovations, and literary and artistic works that may be patented, copyrighted, trademarked or licensed for commercial purposes

Mail Bombing

The practice of bombarding someone with a large volume of unsolicited mail in an attempt to disrupt them or their site


Any software or code used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system, e.g., Spyware, Trojan Horse, Virus, Worm. Excludes software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency.  Sometimes characterized as a computer contaminant in law.


A standard practice by information technology resource administrators of reviewing transaction activity and other similar logs generated by the system/network, analyzing performance anomalies and traffic patterns, and/or running programs designed to identify the source of a specific problem, alarm or pattern potentially indicative of illegal or inappropriate use


A group of computers and the associated equipment and transmission media used for the purpose of sending and receiving data, voice or video signals

Networked Device

A networked device includes but is not limited to the following types of equipment assigned to individuals, departments, clubs, auxiliary organizations or individuals from off-campus utilizing university network resources: personal computers, laptops, workstations, wireless devices (e.g. smart phones, tablets, handheld phones, base stations or pods), networked printers/copiers, servers, switches, routers, hubs, mini-hubs, splitters, wireless access points, firewalls, network security devices, network appliances, or any device that is network-capable and connected to university network resources.

Network Communication Device

A network communication device includes but is not limited to the following types of equipment assigned to individuals, departments, clubs, auxiliary organizations or individuals from off-campus utilizing university network resources: switches, routers, hubs, mini-hubs, splitters, wireless access points, firewalls, network security devices, network appliances, modem pools, or any device connected to university network resources whose function is to transport electronic information.

Network/System Integrity and Reliability

Maintaining optimum performance and availability of information technology resources in support of the University mission


E-mail discussion group using a "news" message distribution protocol organized around named topics. Newsgroups can be global, regional, or local with regard to their access and distribution. While messages are submitted using e-mail, they are read from a central repository instead of being delivered to individual e-mail addresses.

Personal Gain

Receiving money or other goods or services as a result of soliciting, promoting, selling, marketing or advertising products or services

Personal Information

In the context of disclosure of system security breaches: Individual’s first name or first initial and last name in combination with any one or more of the following data elements, when either the name or the data elements are not encrypted: (1) Social Security number; (2) driver’s license number of California Identification Card number; (3) account number (which could include a student identification number), credit or debit card number, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password that would permit access to an individual’s financial account, (4) Medical information, and (5) Health insurance information (Ref:  California Civil Code 1798 - Information Practices Act of 1977).

NOTE: The  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides additional protection for student educational records.


The attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Political Advocacy

Promoting, advocating or supporting a specific candidate, political party or issue

Port Scanning

Using software to access or query all known TCP ports on a system to try to identify which services and levels of security are associated with those ports. A method for determining if a network or system can be compromised.


Indiscriminate sending or forwarding of unsolicited e-mail to a large group of users

System Administrator

Person responsible for administering the hardware, operating system, and software that constitutes a computer system or network

System Alias - See also "Distribution List"

An alias established by a system administrator or account owner using addresses contained in a file that can be edited by the alias owner

Systems - See "Computer System"

Trade Secret

A process, method, plan, formula or other information unique to a manufacturer, which gives it an advantage over competitors, and therefore must be kept secret to be of special value. May be legally protected against use or revelation by others.


A name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer

Trojan Horse

A malicious, security-breaking program that is disguised as something benign, e.g., a directory lister, archiver, or game

University / Cal Poly

The institution as a whole or the collective authority of the institution represented by established policies and designated officials responsible for enforcing them

University Resources

Any resource belonging to or employed by the University, including equipment, facilities, and staff; includes resources provided via third party contracts and agreements


Anyone who has been provided access to Cal Poly’s information technology resources, including the general public


A program that searches out other programs and "infects" them by embedding a copy of itself in them. When these programs are executed, the embedded virus is executed too, thus propagating the "infection." A virus may write messages on the terminal, or play strange tricks with the display or cause irreversible damage such as deleting all of a user's files. Unlike a worm, a virus cannot infect other computers without assistance.

Web Site

Web page files (beginning with an initial home page) hosted on- or off-campus and owned through a computer account by University faculty, staff, students, administrative units, organizations, clubs and auxiliaries


A program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes

Continue to Appendix B | Return to RUP Table of Contents

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