Electronic Mail and Privacy Policies and Practices at CCSU
CCSU provides email services to faculty and staff via a Microsoft Exchange/Outlook system. The system stores all of our messages, those sent as well as those received, on a university-owned server. This server is backed up nightly.
It is important to remember that all CCSU-owned or leased computers are considered to be State property and that they, and the information stored on them, are subject to State laws and guidelines. All electronic mail (email) that is sent from or through a computer owned or leased by CCSU falls under the State regulations. It is important that everyone understand that email sent, received or transmitted through State-controlled computers is not private, is not personal and may not be confidential.
Email differs from other transitory forms of interaction in that it is transmitted by copying the message from one computer to another. Each copy stays on the computer for a period of time and may be backed up by the university and placed into permanent storage. For example, all email that remains on a server overnight will be backed up and kept. Even if deleted, a copy will exist in the archives Information Services keeps. We are required by State law to keep these records intact. We cannot delete anything from an archive outside of the State guidelines and these are very restrictive.
CCSU has an explicit policy on data file confidentiality. We treat all of your electronic records, including email, as if it were confidential. We will never attempt to look at your information unless it becomes necessary to determined that one or more of your files or an action by you is having an effect on the operation of computers or networks. Before we look at any files we will attempt to contact you obtain your permission. If we cannot reach you, we will let you know that we had to look at your files.
However, once a message is placed into the archives, it becomes public record. That means that it is subject to the Connecticut Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and must be produced if a valid FOI request is received. Similarly, the record can be subpoenaed in a criminal case or demanded by a discovery motion in a civil action. In any of these instances, copies of records that we find must (with very few exceptions) be turned over.
What does this mean to you? If you want to send email that is personal and private, you should contract with a private Internet Service Provider and use their mail services. Do not use your CCSU email account to send or receive such messages and do not forward copies of them to this account.