Code of Ethics for Computing

The ethical principles which apply to everyday community life also apply to computing. Every member of the Purdue University North Central community has two basic rights: privacy and a fair share of resources. It is unethical for any person to violate these rights.

Along with these rights comes a responsibility to respect the intellectual work and property of others. The university community should respect the rights of all authors and publishers in all media. These rights include the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and the right to determine the form, manner and terms of publication and distribution.


On shared computer systems, every user is assigned a user ID. It is for the exclusive use of the owner. All data belongs to someone. They should be assumed to be private and confidential unless the owner has explicitly made them available to others. Network traffic should be considered private. Messages transmitted to other users should always identify the sender. Obscenities should not be transmitted. Records related to the use of computing and information resources are confidential, subject to the University’s rights and obligations to comply with applicable laws.


Hardware needs protection. Food, drinks, and containers should not be brought into a laboratory. No one should deliberately attempt to degrade or disrupt system performance or interfere with the work of others. Failure of the computer system or network security or knowledge of a special password should not be used to alter computer systems, obtain extra resources or take resources from another person. Computer equipment owned by departments or individuals should be used only with the owner’s permission. University resources are provided for university purposes only. Software should be used only for educational or instructional purposes.

Intellectual Rights and Responsibilities

No one should copy computer software, including programs, applications, data bases and codes without a license or permission from the author or publisher. Plagiarism of software, as in any other media, is a violation of the right of the author to have his/her work acknowledged. No one should alter the form or content of any computer software without the express permission of the author or publisher to do so. Computing and information resources are community resources. Theft, mutilation, and abuse of these resources violate the nature and spirit of community and intellectual inquiry.

Further, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) requires institutions of higher education take preventative measures to combat the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials by users of their data networks.  Therefore, in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), the PNC Information Services Department will notify the appropriate authorities whenever requests are made by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) or other enforcement agency. Offenders are also reported to the Dean of Students Office for disciplinary action. Learn more about the HEOA.

System Administration

Occasionally, Information Services staff may access the owner’s data, but only when strictly necessary for the maintenance of a system, compliance with applicable laws, and with the approval of the Information Services Director. If a failure is found in the security of any computer system or network, it should be reported to the information services director and not used for personal gain or to disrupt the work of others. This code of ethics establishes general guidelines for the use of computing and information resources. Failure to observe the code may lead to disciplinary action. Offenses which involve academic dishonesty will be dealt with through university disciplinary procedures.