U libraries deal with password, ID misuse

Ed Swaray

When electrical engineering sophomore Imran Nsairat wants to use a computer at Wilson Library, he often has to wait for young children to finish playing online games first.

The children are some of a growing number of people using the library’s computers without permission. More students are giving their usernames, account IDs and passwords to unaffiliated users in the library, University librarian Wendy Lougee said.

Although University policy states that students should not share their usernames and passwords with others, Lougee said many students give them to their children or siblings.

“We do not have workstations to share with children or people who want to play games or send e-mails,” she said.

The University allows the general public to use its facilities, but Lougee said the computers should be used only for research.

Eric Celeste, associate University librarian for information technology, said the library has tried to ban access to Web sites with online games, but people still find ways to reach them or discover new games.

Celeste said library staff cannot determine exactly how the public finds the student account information. Sometimes, he said, slips of papers with students’ usernames and passwords have been found and turned over to the information technology office so the passwords can be reset.

“This is a precautionary measure because we do not know if the student accidentally left it there or if someone else did,” he said. “They will have to call information technology to get a new password.”

In these cases, Celeste said, students receive verbal warnings for leaked passwords. That might change, however, if the University computers continue to be misused.

One verbal warning is all that is needed for students who abuse the facilities, said Nsairat. Any student who does it a second time should be penalized, he said.

Global studies senior Michelle Collins said computer privileges are part of student fees and others should not get the benefits for free.

Collins said a password gives a person access to a student’s entire records.

She said if students believe their accounts have been compromised, they should contact the system network coordinator.