This policy addresses the College's commitment to protecting the privacy of authorized users of its Information Technology (IT) systems, and other systems that are capable of recording information about the user. Hereinafter these authorized users are referred to as "The Whitman Community". Despite the College's adherence to these policies it cannot assure the Whitman Community protection from the sorts of activities broadly referred to as "hacking" whose consequence might be a loss of electronic privacy.

The Chief Information Officer reminds the Whitman Community of the inherent insecurity of electronic information particularly on the Internet, and of their responsibility in ensuring the privacy of their account (e.g. users should use a secure password, not share their passwords or access to their accounts, etc.).

  1. The College is committed to protecting the privacy of the Whitman Community as it concerns materials stored on College computers or transmitted electronically on College networks or Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. The College does not sell, share, or rent account information in ways different than are described in this policy. In the event of court cases, it will make every reasonable effort to defend users' privacy. Whitman College will not access or monitor computer accounts, usage of IT services, or other electronic records except when:

    1. authorized by the user(s),
    2. performing maintenance necessary for the operation of the relevant systems, in which case the user(s) shall be notified of such access,
    3. necessary for billing purposes (e.g. long distance) or legally required to do so, after the College has mounted a reasonable effort to defend the privacy of the user(s).

    Routine maintenance and upkeep that do not involve examination of account or network traffic content or information content in general, such as backups, are exempt from the notification requirement.

  2. While it is necessary to store some information about users and individual use of electronic services, neither this information nor knowledge derived from this information will be accessed unless:

    1. it is fundamentally necessary for the functioning of the College's IT or electronic infrastructure or,
    2. there is clear evidence suggesting that the security and/or the integrity of the system is being compromised.

    In either of these cases only the Chief Information Officer or his/her designees will make use of this information or its derivatives and then only in their efforts to assure the smooth functioning of the College's IT resource and other electronic systems.

  3. Whitman College is committed to the free flow of ideas, and the freedom of electronic speech shall be fully protected. The College will actively protect the Whitman Community's freedom of expression. The content of electronic communication is not censored; this includes, but is not limited to, personal web pages, postings to listservs and newsgroups, and email. However, in accordance with the principles of this policy, the following limitations apply:

    1. the volume of information may be limited without regard to content because of the technical constraints of the system (e.g., the number of news groups available at any one time may be limited).
    2. The College retains the right to protect itself from liabilities posed by the electronic behavior of members of the College, if these behaviors are patently illegal. Otherwise the College will make every reasonable effort to defend users whose rights for freedom of expression are being challenged.
    3. Users are expected to abide by the laws of the State of Washington and the United States and by the policies of the College.

Approved by the Whitman Faculty - April 26, 2006