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Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery

University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge

 

Privacy policy

General

Research Computing Services are specific research-oriented IT services provided by the University and as such are covered by the University IT Facilities and Services Privacy Notice. The basis for the use of personal data is consent, explicitly given at the time of user account application and implicitly upon each connection to Research Computing Services as per the banner warning if present.

This local policy document explains in more detail what information is held about individual people (Research Computing Service account holders) by Research Computing Service systems, how it is gathered and how it is used. Details of the data held or logged are given below. This information is used to support user access to the resources of the Research Computing Service systems, to enable communication with you about the status of the system and your use of it as required, for system administration and bug tracking, for the detection of improper use, and for producing usage statistics for management and planning purposes.

Access to these logs and to user-specific data is restricted to appropriate staff or contractors of the Research Computing Service, and in the specific case of DiRAC and Tier2 users, to the appropriate staff at EPCC responsible for resource allocation and user administration of DiRAC and Tier2 service through the SAFE system. Please note that SAFE is not part of the University of Cambridge and all DiRAC and Tier2 users should refer to the EPCC Privacy Statement.

These logs are currently held indefinitely subject to the availability of storage space, but might not be recovered as a result of an accidental or deliberate removal action.

Summary statistics are extracted from this data. Some of these may be made publicly available, but those that are do not include the identity of individuals. DiRAC and Tier2 users (only) should note that their individual job records are uploaded to SAFE nightly.

Relevant subsets of this data may be passed to computer security teams (e.g. Cambridge CERT) as part of investigations of specific incidents of computer misuse involving Research Computing Service systems.

In the event that suspicious activity is detected on the CUDN, data held as described in the University IT Facilities and Services Privacy Notice may be passed to Research Computing Service management for investigation.

Data pertaining to particular projects may also on occasion be passed to the appropriate people (e.g. Principal Investigators or nominated deputies) responsible for direction and management of those projects. Otherwise the information is not passed to any third party except where required by law.

Data is stored on disk storage systems and may be backed up to tape at some frequency depending on the filesystem. These backups are made to enable reinstatement of the data, e.g. in the event of failure of a system component, or accidental deletion. Details of backup and other policies applicable per filesystem are available on the filesystem page. User data, log data and backups are at all times physically held in secure University premises, or transferred over the CUDN using strong SSH-based encryption.

Any user of the Research Computing Service systems who approaches the Service Desk or any staff within the Research Computing Service for help with a problem, implicitly grants permission to the Research Computing Service staff to investigate that problem by looking at data held on the system and files in their home directories or other personal or group storage areas.

Data collected

Accounting and other user-dependent system data

The Research Computing Service management servers hold details of user accounts, thereby enabling a user to log in and use the resources of the Research Computing Service systems.

The following data are collected via either the account application process or service usage and held and maintained for each user:

  • Name
  • User identifier (account name)
  • Institution affiliation
  • Status
  • Project affiliation
  • Email address
  • Contact telephone number
  • User administration history
  • Login history (session begin/end times and originating IP address)
  • Resource consumption (in the form of job records accumulated by the job scheduler)
  • Use of licensed applications (in the course of ensuring license term compliance).

These data are held on the Research Computing Service management systems from the time the user's account is created, whether or not the user ever makes use of the Research Computing Service systems.

Service specific data remain stored subject to storage capacity until purged as obsolete; basic user information (names, system identifiers and institutional affiliations) regarding University of Cambridge users is duplicated from central user administration records, see the University IT Facilities and Services Privacy Notice. Names, system identifiers and affiliations pertaining to external users are stored indefinitely in order that historical usage of research computing systems can be properly attributed.

Other data held

Research data held in home directories or other personal or group storage areas is stored, as required for the fulfillment of Research Computing Service services. This data is stored until purged by the user, or by the Research Computing Service to enforce advertised policy, or automatically as obsolete in the case of tape re-use.

In addition applications, including but not limited to login shells, may record command history in files contained in the user's home directory. Such files will survive until purged by the user, or by the Research Computing Service to enforce advertised policy, or automatically as obsolete in the case of tape re-use.

From time to time we may gather publication data from external journal or preprint listings in order to assess research outputs facilitated by research computing services.

Further information

For further information, please refer to the University IT Facilities and Services Privacy Notice and  https://www.information-compliance.admin.cam.ac.uk/data-protection/general-data.