Solomon Seal said the college has the ability to monitor both internal and external resources on the college’s network — but chooses not to.
Seal, the college’s system administrator, says the IT department mostly only blocks and monitors sites that could harm the overall network.
“While we have the ability to look at that traffic, we do not actively log sites people access or anything like that,” Seal said. “As for restricting any specific content, there’s many things that are blocked, generally IP addresses that are known to post malicious bot nets or things that could try to attack or enter the network.”
The network blocks a range of addresses from China and websites that the school administration and Board of Trustees has requested to be blocked — namely YikYak, an anonymous location-based app that caused controversy a few semesters ago for potential bullying.
The school also blocks all forms of peer-to-peer traffic, such as BitTorrent. These platforms allow many users to distribute and download copyrighted material for free.
The college maintains a closed network, which means that nobody can attain access to the network without credentials that are provided by the college. Those credentials can either be a school log-in account or a guest account.
This also means that the college does not have to keep logs of web traffic for long extensions of time. This network also provides protection for the college and students.
Seal said the college puts safeguards in place to protect students from having the opportunity to do something that could get them in trouble.
The Key, issued by the college, does prohibit the downloading of copyrighted music, text, video and graphics from a website that has not obtained the rights to and the sharing of this material. Despite the restrictions, the college doesn’t have a standard set of disciplinary actions for a student found violating these rules.
The Key states the following penalty: “In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or ‘statutory’ damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For ‘willful’ infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed.”
The document also says that willful copyright infringement can result in imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.
Seal said he would not like to see the college do more monitoring of sites than is already done.
“As far as monitoring traffic and sites visited, we have no desire to do that,” Seal said. “That would basically be a command coming from the top levels of the college if that were to ever go in place. Part of that is because of liability from the college. If we don’t know what you’re doing, it’s less likely that we will get in trouble for it.”