Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications are used to connect a computer directly to other computers in order to transfer files between the systems. Frequently such applications are used to transfer copyrighted materials such as music and movies.
In order to comply with the letter and intent of the University DMCA policy (http://dmca.harvard.edu), Peer-to-Peer applications are restricted on the HMS network, the HMS wireless network and the HMS VPN.
Examples of P2P applications are BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, eMule and Ares Galaxy. Of these applications, BitTorrent has value in the scientific community. If your work requires the use of BitTorrent, an exception may be made for your system. A request for an exemption may be made by submitting a support request form or by contacting the HMS IT Service Desk at 617-432-2000.
To stem the use of P2P applications, HMS IT blocks well-known P2P ports. However, some applications will still negotiate connections on dynamic ports. If a system is detected engaging in P2P activity on the wired network, a temporary second level block is put in place on that system which shuts down the P2P traffic. A notice is then sent out to the Quad System Administrators as well as the IT Client Services Group. The system identification is then logged.
If a particular system is blocked several times, it will be removed from the network until such time as the user uninstalls the offending software or states that they will not use it on the HMS Networks. Systems owned by HMS will have the software removed unless it is deemed necessary for the transfer of scientific data or other such valid use.
If a system engages in P2P traffic on the HMS Wireless network, that system is promptly removed from the wireless network as it is a clear violation of the acceptable use policy that the user is forced to agree to in order to use the wireless network.
If a user engages in P2P activity while connected to the HMS network via VPN, the user is identified and notified by email that this is a violation of the acceptable use policy. Continued use of P2P application over VPN may result in the termination of VPN access.
HMS IT is not always successful in preventing the use of these applications. Occasionally a DMCA violation notice is registered with the University DMCA Office regarding an offense. Typically these offenses are the result of a user sharing copyrighted materials.
When a DMCA violation notice is received, the offending system is immediately removed from the network pending a further investigation. Once the user is identified an official notice is sent from the HMS Security Officer. The user's information is sent to the University DMCA office and is kept on file.
In the event of a second offense the user is restricted from using the HMS Network for the period of one year. If the user requires the use of the HMS Network for their job, this may result in termination.