Acceptable Use Standard Guidelines

Purpose | Scope | General Use | Unacceptable Use | Login Accounts | Privacy of Information | Copyright Infringement  | Peer-to-Peer File Sharing | Cloud Computing | Enforcement | Revision History | Other Policy Links
1.0 Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to establish requirements concerning the acceptable use of Information Technology (IT) resources at all Pensacola State College campuses and centers.

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These guidelines apply to all users of Pensacola State College IT resources, including all students, employees, vendors, contractors and other visitors.  IT resources include, but are not limited to, computer equipment and peripherals, applications, data and the supporting network infrastructure.

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Pensacola State College provides a wide variety of IT resources that are administered by Information Technology Services (ITS) and are intended for the academic pursuits of Pensacola State College students and faculty, and for the normal business of the college.


IT resources at Pensacola State College are property of the college and are subject to Pensacola State College policies concerning general use of facilities, services and equipment.  The college’s general policies for academic freedom and responsible, considerate, legal and ethical behavior also extend to the use of these resources.  Since IT resources are not unlimited, the college may give priority to certain users or certain groups of users in support of its mission.  The use of IT resources shall not be denied or abridged because of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability or marital status.
Anyone using a Pensacola State College IT resource is responsible for:

  • Recognizing and honoring the intellectual property rights of others, making attribution as appropriate
  • Refraining from any illegal or improper activity that would lead to unauthorized access into any IT resource, system or user account
  • Taking all reasonable steps to ensure the accessibility, confidentiality and/or integrity of Pensacola State College information and information technology
  • Being ethical and respectful of the rights of others, including the rights to privacy
  • Abiding by all other applicable college policies, standards, guidelines, and all federal, state and local laws pertaining to the use of information technology.

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Following is a list of examples that constitute violations of these Acceptable Use Standard Guidelines.  This is not a comprehensive list and other activities that are contrary to Pensacola State College policies, standards and guidelines are still considered violations even if not specifically listed here.

  • Browsing Internet sites, transferring information or passing information through Pensacola State College email resources that contain illegal, obscene or harmful content that is objectionable and inappropriate
  • Using Pensacola State College IT resources for personal financial gain or commercial purposes
  • Using Pensacola State College IT resources to impersonate another person or misrepresent authorization to act on behalf of others or Pensacola State College
  • Using Pensacola State College IT resources to harass another person, or to transmit to others or display images, sounds or messages that might be perceived by a reasonable person as, or have been identified as, harassing.  (See Pensacola State College policies on sexual harassment and the student conduct codes.)
  • Using Pensacola State College IT resources to invade the privacy of others or to make unauthorized use of their work.  Users should not attempt to read or copy information belonging to others, or decrypt or translate encrypted material unless the information has deliberately been made accessible by the owner(s) or authorization has been obtained to do so
  • Intentionally bypassing any security feature(s) for the express purpose of gaining unauthorized access to a Pensacola State College network, a computer or other information resource.
  • Disabling, modifying or removing software designed to protect against viruses, spyware and adware
  • Installing or connecting IT equipment to the Pensacola State College wired network without prior approval.  Pensacola State College provides wireless network access on all campuses and centers for the use of students, faculty, staff and some visitors
  • Installing software on Pensacola State College computers without prior approval.

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Computer and/or network accounts may be provided to students, faculty and staff for academic pursuits, transmitting and receiving electronic mail and messages, daily business and administrative operations, and other authorized activities.  Account holders are responsible for the use of the account and the security of the information for which the account provides access.


Accounts should be logged-off and/or locked when left unattended.  Accounts are for the use of the single individual for which they are provided.  Account holders are not permitted to share accounts, the information provided by accounts, or account usernames and passwords with others.  Account passwords will be assigned and used in compliance with current account username and password standards.
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Pensacola State College information is to be used only for the business purposes expressly authorized by management.  Personally identifiable information concerning students, employees, customers, visitors and others that is not declared public by law is to be held in confidence and its uses narrowly tailored by specific management directive.

The confidentiality, integrity and availability of college information is the responsibility of each information user.


Student Records, Financial, Medical Information
All users of college information are required to abide by the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regarding the release of student information.  Student educational and financial records are considered confidential and may not be released without the written consent of the student, except by provisions outlined in law.

All users of college information are required to abide by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act regarding the release of financial information and by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regarding the handling of private medical records.


Electronic Messaging
Pensacola State College will make reasonable efforts to maintain the integrity and effective operation of its electronic messaging systems, but users are advised that those systems should in no way be regarded as secure media for the communication of sensitive or confidential information.  Because of the nature of the technologies that provide electronic communication, Pensacola State College cannot assure the privacy of an individual’s use of messaging resources, neither can Pensacola State College assure the confidentiality of particular messages that may be created, transmitted, received or stored using college messaging resources.


Incidental Disclosure
Users should be aware that data (including email) may be, due to software or hardware failure, accessible to those who are not explicitly authorized.  In addition, Pensacola State College ITS personnel may be required to monitor the use of college IT resources in the normal operation of ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of the college’s information and resources.  Any incidental information gained from IT resources in the course of regular operations will be treated as confidential.  However, ITS personnel are required to report any apparent improper or illegal activities so discovered.  No guarantee of complete privacy is made.


Public Disclosure
Except for student records, information produced, transmitted or received by Pensacola State College employees (including email messages or other data) “pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business” is defined as a public record by Florida law, and is subject to the provisions of Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.  Public records must be retained according to specific retention schedules and are subject to inspection and copying upon request by any member of the public (except as specifically exempted by law), and may not be deleted or destroyed except as authorized by law.  Responsibility for adhering to public records laws is the responsibility of each Pensacola State College employee.


Internet Privacy
Following is the public statement placed on Pensacola State College websites advising web visitors of the college’s position regarding the collection of personal information.

Pensacola State College Internet Privacy Statement


Thank you for visiting the Pensacola State College website.  Your privacy is very important to us.  Simply stated, our policy is to collect no personal information about you when you visit our website unless you affirmatively choose to make such information available to us.


When you visit our website, our web server automatically recognizes only the Internet domain and IP address from which you accessed our website.  This information does not result in the identification of your personal email address or other personal information.


In addition, we gather information regarding the volume and timing of access to our website by collecting information on the date, time and website pages accessed by the visitors to the website.  We do this so that we can improve the content of our website, and this information is not shared with other organizations.  Only aggregate information is collected, and individual visitors’ personal information is not identified.


Visitors to this website who have javascript enabled may be tracked using Google Analytics.  Pensacola State College has elected not to share analytics data with other Google products or anonymously with Google and others.  For more information on Google’s privacy policies, visit


If you choose to share personal information with us – by sending us a message or filling out an electronic form with personal information – we will use the information only for purposes you authorized.  Some of the information may be saved for a designated period of time to comply with Florida’s archiving policies, but we will not disclose the information to third parties or other government agencies, unless required to do so by state or federal law.


If you have other questions about our privacy policies, or have ideas about improving our policies, please feel free to email us at, or you can reach us at (850) 484-1000.

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Federal copyright law applies to all forms of information, including electronic communications.  Copyright infringement includes the unauthorized copying, displaying and/or distributing of copyrighted material.  All information should be considered protected by copyright law unless otherwise specifically labeled.


Any use of Pensacola State College computers, networks, email systems or websites to transfer copyrighted material, including, but not limited to, software, text, images, audio and video is strictly prohibited.  Anyone using Pensacola State College resources to commit acts of copyright infringement may be subject to prosecution.  Acts of piracy are violations of state and federal laws and may result in civil or criminal charges.


Users found to be in violation of copyright laws will be disciplined according to procedures outlined in the Pensacola State College Student Handbook or the Pensacola State College Employee Handbook, as appropriate.

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Pensacola State College prohibits all forms of network traffic that utilize P2P file-sharing technologies to illegally transfer copyrighted material.


The use of popular file-sharing applications similar to “BitTorrents” may be a violation of Pensacola State College guidelines and federal law.  These guidelines are published in the Student handbook and on the Pensacola State College website.


Users of Pensacola State College IT resources are educated on the college’s P2P policy through the student handbook, employee handbook and College website.  In addition, periodic information security articles are included in the student newspaper, and IT security workshops include P2P file-sharing policy content.


Response to Unauthorized Distribution of Copyrighted Material
Users of Pensacola State College IT resources who are found to be in violation of the college’s P2P file-sharing policy are notified to cease file-sharing immediately and are further educated concerning the college’s policy and legal ramifications.  Repeat offenders are subject to disciplinary action under terms set forth for violation of college policies in the Student Handbook and/or Employee Handbook, as appropriate.  Users may be prohibited completely from the use of college IT resources.


Technical Deterrents
Pensacola State College has implemented a filtering appliance at the perimeter of the college’s network to monitor and block P2P file-sharing network packets.


Legal Alternatives
The Pensacola State College website includes a link to alternative legal sources of copyrighted material.


Annual Review
These P2P guidelines are reviewed annually to ensure their continuing effectiveness in consideration of ongoing technological advances.

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Cloud computing is an evolving style of computing in which information is processed and/or stored on virtualized resources.  While cloud services may be internal to an organization, these guidelines reference services that are provided over a network connection where at least part of the service resides outside the college’s IT infrastructure by third party vendors with whom the college has no official contract or agreement.


Employees and other users of college IT resources are increasingly using their personal computing devices (e.g. smart phones and tablet computers) to access college resources and to conduct college business.  With these personal devices, many third party vendors offer free cloud services, such as file storage and file synchronization, and in some cases it may not be obvious that a personal application is utilizing cloud services.  As a result, an increasing amount of college information is being processed and/or stored by third party vendors with which the college has no official agreement, and therefore the college has no assurance that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information will be maintained.  Specific examples of cloud services being used by college employees and other users affiliated with the college include social media sites such as FaceBook, YouTube, document and email management sites such as Microsoft Windows Live with SkyDrive, Google Gmail, Google Docs, Ipad DropBox, and many other sites and applications that host photos, videos and other media and information.


Employees and other affiliated users of college information are expected to be aware of the risks introduced by these cloud services and utilize them in such a manner as to protect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of the information.  Some of the risks are listed here.


  • There may be no guarantee that the vendor will respect the confidentiality of data stored on its resources.  The data will be available to vendor employees, and the vendor may have agreements with other vendors to share information.  All federal and state laws regarding the privacy of certain types of college information must be regarded.
  • There may be no assurance that the vendor has appropriate procedures in place to ensure the availability of the information, and the application should therefore not be utilized as a primary platform for storage and/or delivery.
  • Vendor may not guarantee the integrity of the data.  The information may be subject to intentional or unintentional corruption or modification.
  • Vendor may archive data for undisclosed periods of time conflicting with Pensacola State College data disposal policies.
  • Vendor likely will not accept legal or regulatory liability, and likely will not respect HIPAA, FERPA, and other state or federal data protection laws specific to educational institutions.


Any employee or other IT user affiliated with the college who enters into an agreement with a third party vendor that provides cloud services that may be used to process or store Pensacola State College information in any form, and with whom the college has no official contractual agreement, is responsible for maintaining the security of the information and for protecting the reputation of the college and reducing institutional exposure to legal and compliance risks. 


Regarding the use of third party cloud services:

  • All federal, state, and local laws, and college regulations and policies regarding the privacy of certain data shall be respected, including FERPA, HIPAA, and other regulations
  • Information which is obscene or harassing is not permitted
  • Information shall align with the core values of the college
  • Copyrights shall be respected
  • Use of college information for personal gain, or to promote personal, religious or political causes is not permitted
  • Every effort shall be made to ensure the accuracy of the information
  • Use of cloud services to bypass college information security measures is not permitted
  • Ethical behavior as defined in the college Employee Handbook shall be practiced.

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The use of Pensacola State College IT resources is provided to students, faculty, staff and some visitors as a privilege, not a right.  In order to maintain this privilege, users are responsible for following the letter and the spirit of these Acceptable Use Standard Guidelines.  Pensacola State College reserves the right to deny the use of college IT resources to any user(s) determined to be in violation of these guidelines.


Pensacola State College is committed to maintaining the security and functionality of its IT resources and information.  Failure to follow these guidelines may result in denial, revocation or suspension of privileges or in disciplinary action.  Pensacola State College may refer suspected violations of applicable law to appropriate law enforcement agencies for legal action.

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May 7, 2012
July 15, 2010
April 2, 2009
September 15, 2008


Other Policy Links

Acceptable Use Policy
Privacy Policy – Information about legal downloading for parents and students.

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