Networking Ethics

Considerable effort at the highest international level has gone into creating an interlocking system of global computer networks. These have come to serve as the day-to day working tools for a worldwide community of researchers. It is therefore essential for users, operators and sponsors alike that these networks should function reliably and efficiently and, to this end, that a set of guidelines be defined which guard against their abuse.

It is a generally accepted policy to maintain access to the networks as open as possible; it is thus unavoidable that certain ethical standards be imposed on the activities of individual users. Such demands differ little from those placed on other members of a modern civilized community. It is also inevitable that a continued development of international computer networks require certain unconventional activities on the part of those involved; it is particularly important that such people observe extra caution in their work.

NORDUnet identifies as unethical and thereby deplorable those practices which:


Seek to gain unauthorized access to the resources of the networks

Conceal the identity of the user (except where such behaviour is explicitly permitted)

Disrupt the intended use of the networks

Waste resources (personnel, hardware, software, bandwidth)

Destroy the integrity of computer-based information

Compromise the privacy of other users

Insult or embarrass other users

This statement has been condensed from material provided by:

The Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Networking (CCIRN)
The Internet Activities Board (IAB)
The National Science Foundation
Purdue University