Qatar National Research and Education Network (QNREN)

QNREN Acceptable Use Policy

Background and Definitions

  1. “QNREN” is the name given both to an electronic communications network and a collection of electronic communications networking services and facilities that support the requirements of the Qatar’s education and research community. QNREN is managed by Qatar University on behalf of its connected institutions and its partner funding bodies.

  2. QNREN is maintained primarily to support education and research within the State of Qatar. It is not a public network. The QNREN Acceptable Use Policy does not determine the eligibility of any particular organisation to have a connection to and use QNREN. This eligibility is determined by the QNREN Connection Policy. The QNREN Acceptable Use Policy merely defines acceptable and unacceptable use of QNREN by those who have been provided with a connection under the terms of the QNREN Connection Policy.

  3. The QNREN Acceptable Use Policy is an integral QNREN’s Terms and Conditions for the Provision of the QNREN Service (the “QNREN Terms”). There are a number of explanatory notes (each, a “Note”) at the end of this document, and referenced from individual clauses of this Acceptable Use Policy. Each Note is an integral part of the QNREN Acceptable Use Policy.

Use Policy

  1. The QNREN Acceptable Use Policy applies in the first instance to any organisation authorised to use QNREN (a “User Organisation”). It applies also to use of QNREN by the User Organisation’s own members and all those to whom it otherwise provides with access to QNREN (collectively, its “Members”).

  2. It is therefore recommended that each User Organisation establishes its own statement of acceptable use within the context of the services provided to its Members, and in a form that is compatible with the conditions expressed in the QNREN Acceptable Use Policy. Such a statement may refer to, or include, this document. If material from this document is included, this must be done in such a way as to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of the intent of the QNREN Acceptable Use Policy. The QNREN Management can advise on this aspect as and where necessary.

  3. Those implementing this QNREN Acceptable Use Policy within a User Organisation should also take into account the provisions of the QNREN Security Policy and associated guidance documents, in respect both of the connection of IT systems to QNREN via the User Organisation’s network and of individual Members’ access to QNREN.

  4. Copies of the QNREN Terms; of the QNREN Connection; and Security Policies may be found on the QNREN website.

Acceptable Use

  1. A User Organisation and its Members may use QNREN for the purpose of communicating with other User Organisations and their Members, and with organisations, individuals and services attached to networks which are reachable via QNREN. All use of QNREN is subject to the QNREN Terms.

  2. Subject to clauses 11 to 19 below, QNREN may be used by a User Organisation and its Members for any lawful activity that is in furtherance of the missions of the User Organisation. *Note 1

  3. It is the responsibility of the User Organisation to ensure that its Members use QNREN services in accordance with this QNREN Acceptable Use Policy, and with current legislation. *Note 2

Unacceptable Use

  1. QNREN may  not  be  used  by  a  User  Organization  or  its  Members  for  any activity  that  may reasonably be regarded as unlawful or potentially so.  This includes, but is not limited to, any of the following activities. *Note3

  2. Creation or transmission, or causing the transmission, of any offensive, obscene or indecent images, data or other material, or any data capable of being resolved into obscene or indecent images or material. *Note4

  3. Creation or transmission of material with the intent to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

  4. Creation or transmission of material with the intent to defraud.

  5. Creation or transmission of defamatory material.

  6. Creation or transmission of material such that this infringes the copyright of another person.

  7. Creation or transmission of unsolicited bulk or marketing material to users of networked facilities or services, save where that material is embedded within, or is otherwise part of, a service to which the user or their User Organisation has chosen to subscribe.

  8. Deliberate unauthorised access to networked facilities or services. *Note 5 *Note 6

  9. Deliberate activities having, with reasonable likelihood, any of the following characteristics:

  • wasting staff effort or networked resources, including time on end systems and the effort of staff involved in the support of those systems;

  • corrupting or destroying other users’ data;

  • violating the privacy of other users;

  • disrupting the work of other users;

  • denying service to other users (for example, by deliberate or reckless overloading of access links or of switching equipment);

  • continuing to use an item of networking software or hardware after QNREN has requested that use cease because it is causing disruption to the correct functioning of QNREN;

  • other misuse of QNREN or networked resources, such as the introduction of “viruses” or other harmful software via QNREN.

Access to Other Networks via QNREN

  1. Where QNREN is being used to access another networks, any breach of the acceptable use policy of that network will be regarded as unacceptable use of QNREN. Any deliberate activity as described in clause 19 above, and where applied to a user of that network, will also be regarded as unacceptable use of QNREN.

  2. Any breach of industry good practice (as represented by the policies and standards of the MICT Qatar) that is likely to damage the reputation of the QNREN network will also be regarded prima facie as unacceptable use of QNREN.

Passing on and Resale of QNREN

  1. A User Organisation may extend QNREN access to other individuals on a limited basis where this is done in pursuance of the User Organisation’s remit and for which it receives public funds, provided no charge is made for such access. *Note 7

  2. It is expected that such use will be regulated by the User Organisation in the same manner as it would regulate occasional use by third parties of its other facilities, such as its telephone and IT support systems. Any individual using QNREN in this manner must therefore be subject to the same requirement to use QNREN in an acceptable manner as is required by the User Organisation of its Members.

  3. Otherwise, a User Organisation is not permitted to provide access to QNREN to third parties without the prior agreement of QNREN. *Note 8

Compliance

  1. It is the responsibility of the User Organisation to take reasonable steps to ensure its Members’ compliance with the conditions set out in this Policy document, and to ensure that unacceptable use of QNREN is dealt with promptly and effectively should it occur. The discharge of this responsibility includes informing all Members of the User Organisation with access to QNREN of their obligations in this respect.

  2. Where necessary, service may be withdrawn from the User Organisation, in accordance with the QNREN Terms. Where violation of these conditions is unlawful, or results in loss or damage to QNREN or QNREN resources or the resources of third parties accessible via QNREN, the matter may be referred for legal action.


Explanatory Notes

  1. Use by the User Organisation and its members may be in pursuance of activities for commercial gain as well as for not-for-profit activities, provided such activities remain in accordance with the aims and policies of the user organisation.

  2. It is preferable for misuse to be prevented by a combination of responsible attitudes to the use of QNREN resources on the part of its users and appropriate disciplinary measures taken by their User Organisations.

  3. The list of unacceptable activities in this section is not necessarily exhaustive. In accordance with clause 9, the use of QNREN for any activity which may reasonably be regarded as unlawful is not permitted. The purpose of this section is to bring as clearly as possible to the reader’s attention those activities most commonly associated with the abuse of a network.

  4. It may be permissible for such material to be received, created or transmitted where this is for properly supervised and lawful purposes. This may include, for example, approved teaching or research, or the reception or transmission of such material by authorised personnel in the course of an investigation into a suspected or alleged abuse of the institution’s facilities. The discretion to approve such use, and the responsibility for any such approval, rests with the User Organization.

  5. Implicit authorisation may only be presumed where a host and port have been advertised as providing a service (for example by a DNS MX record) and will be considered to have been withdrawn if a complaint from the provider of the service or resource is received either by the User Organisation or by QNREN. For all other services and ports, access will be presumed to be unauthorised unless explicit authority can be demonstrated.

  6. Where a User Organisation wishes to commission or itself perform a test for vulnerabilities in its IT systems (for example, via “penetration testing”) this, as an action authorised by the User Organisation, will not be a breach of clause 18. However, the User Organisation should inform the QNREN, in advance of the test, of the source, nature and timing of the test. This is to avoid wasting the time and resources of the QNREN in investigating the perceived attack on the User Organisation, or automatically blocking it.

  7. It is intended that this provision be used, for example, to permit a guest of the User Organisation to gain access to QNREN for the purpose of maintaining contact with his or her home organisation, or of carrying out his or her teaching or research activities whilst using the User Organisation’s facilities. It is expected that such use will be occasional and reasonably time-limited.

  8. A third party, where an individual, means someone who is not acting as a Member of the User Organisation. Where it applies to a separate organisation, this is defined to be any organisation that is in law a separate entity to the User Organisation.