CUNY Technology Group

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    CUNY is revising its policy on computer use. Mostly this document seems to be an effort to revise wording to keep up with changes in technology (ubiquitous computing, anti-virus & spam measures, accessibility, etc).

    The UFS / Sandy Cooper made suggestions to Frederick P. Schaffer (General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs) who incorporated those changes into a revised draft (attached).

    I was advised by a colleague that the following sections are of concern:

    computer use policy section IV.8.a.iv, pertaining to streaming media.

    Who determines what is a “large” file?

    Who determines what is “personal use”?

    I realize they don’t want anyone hogging bandwidth with porn, but the libraries pay thousands of dollars a year for streaming video databases in ethnographic film, theater on film, etc., etc., and we actually want more of these kinds of resources not less. Apparently there is a NYS Law on Confidentiality of Library Records that SHOULD prevent the admin from figuring out you is using what and for what purpose, which this policy seems to flout.

    Also, section IV.11, which would seem to override hard-won prohibition of filtering of web sites in the current policy. WHo determines what to filter? Yikes!

    I would also add that re: IV.11 and content filtering, I think there needs to be better mechanisms for removing filters for content that that should not be filtered. Every semester I will encounter at least one erroneous filter while accessing websites I need to show in class. While it forces a useful teachable moment, there has not been a clear mechanism for removing that filter (IMHO).

    What do others think?

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    Beth Evans

    Thanks for bringing this up, Michael. Bonnie Nelson at John Jay has outlined the same points in an email to the CUNY librarians listserv, CULIBS, and is encouraging discussion and response from both the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians and within each campus library department.

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