Legal and Ethical Issues

  • Adhere to NC State IT Rules, Regulations and Procedures.
    • Don’t use email for unlawful activities, commercial purposes or personal financial gain, except where academic policy permits financial gain.
    • Don’t use email in violation of other university policies; e.g., harassment, copyright violations.
    • Don’t use email to give the impression that you represent the university unless you are authorized to do so.
  • Don’t share your account or your password with anyone.
    If you give someone else access to your account, you are breaching security, and you could be held liable for offenses you did not commit. Protect your account by changing your password at least annually and by using passwords that are not easily guessed. See Unity Credentials for more details.
  • Don’t violate copyright laws
    Be careful not to duplicate and send copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder.
  • Don’t send abusive or defamatory messages
    Laws relating to written communication also apply to email messages. This includes the laws relating to defamation, obscenity, fraudulent misrepresentation, freedom of information, and wrongful discrimination.
  • Report abusive or defamatory messages
    If you receive an email that you feel is overly annoying, harassing, or abusive, save it and report the incident to the NC State Help Desk.
  • Remember that your email messages are NOT private
    It’s easy for someone to forward your message to someone else, so be careful about what you write. Be aware that anyone, anywhere with an email account could potentially read your message.
  • Respect the privacy of other people’s email
    • Protect the confidentiality of information you inadvertently encounter in email or other records.
    • Don’t seek out, use or disclose personal or confidential information unless you are authorized to do so.
    • Don’t access or disclose other people’s email.
    • Don’t broadcast email messages unnecessarily.
  • Verify suspicious or alarming messages
    Check with the sender if you have any doubt about the authenticity of a message. Before you forward a disturbing or alarming message, check online to see if it may be a hoax. Snopes is a good resource.
  • Don’t send chain letters
    Chain letters annoy most users, waste technical resources and are potentially illegal.
  • Don’t interfere with the system
    Don’t knowingly disrupt university electronic mail and other services. Don’t knowingly interfere with other people’s use of email.