In recent weeks, masses of Gators have been struggling with having their access to the UF Wi-Fi removed. IT Security tickets are being handed out faster than UFPD gives out parking tickets and most of them are for downloading copyright material on campus, as the danger to downloading versus streaming is making itself known. We wanted to get to the bottom of this, so we sat down with an inside-man working for the IT security help desk on campus to find out exactly why so many people have been getting kicked off the UF Wi-Fi.
The Black Sheep: Lately, large numbers of Gators have reported being denied access from the UF Wi-Fi. Can you explain why students have been getting kicked off?
UF IT: Yeah, well first I should explain that it’s not just students. Students, faculty, this could happen to anyone who logs onto the UF Wi-Fi. You agree to the AUP – that’s the Acceptable Use Policy – which says you will not use your account to do anything illegal or unethical (so UF has its butt covered). In cases like these where people download things illegally, you have essentially broken your contract, so UF sees fit to take away your Wi-Fi privilege. You broke that contract that you have agreed to.
That’s usually when people start calling us, saying “Hey, I haven’t been able to log on,” and stuff like that. We keep track once we get your ID number or ticket number – which IT security gives out (sometimes 60-100 at a time), so we know about it when people have violated contracts.
TBS: Is there a process to getting Wi-Fi privileges returned?
UF IT: Once they call, we have to go through a checklist to get account access restored on the Wi-Fi; we basically read them a statement saying “don’t do this again,” and they make an oral agreement that says you have removed so-and-so software. It’s really important to know though, and we tell them this, that if you do it again, you broke the student code of conduct which could lead to dismissal or being fired from the university.
Once they agree, if they get caught again or there’s another incident they will be referred to the UF code of conduct, and the body that deals with this has the ability to dismiss students or employees. That’s probably the most extreme scenario, but it’s pretty serious. So it’s not permanent in the beginning, but you have to call the help desk, agree to a couple things, move your ticket through security, and then they will give you the Wi-Fi back. It’s not like a forever thing but there is now documentation that you broke the law.
TBS: Is there usually a backlash after these sweeps?
UF IT: A lot of times, our student employees at the Help Desk get hassled. People get frustrated but, unfortunately, it’s IT security, not the Help Desk, which makes the ticket. That’s been happening a lot this week because it can be an embarrassing thing to admit that you’ve done something wrong. John Doe will call about it and we’ll see a DMCA copyright violation (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which just means you downloaded something illegally. A lot of the time people will say “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and “That wasn’t me.” We get all kinds of things: “I don’t even watch that, it was a friend using my computer…” It could be anything. It could be Parks and Recreation episode or it could be… other, illegal files, you know.
Most of the time we don’t have to tell them what it is; we have to say on the ticket “it says here so and so has downloaded movie or video at this time,” but you know, sometimes they get adamant and they say they demand to know what video it is, and we have to say “sir you have downloaded x porn file.”
TBS: So do you make the tickets, or just distribute them?:
UF IT: When someone gets their ticket from us we include the link to the actual IT student ticket – but almost always it’s not IT that make the tickets; they come from Hollywood – like Warner Bros. pictures, and then they notify UF, so it’s actually people working for the movie companies that catches you and then UF has to take action. I don’t want people to think IT is always watching, we are forced to take action by the people who own the content.
TBS: Awkward. What happens when you get, like, real filthy titles?
UF IT: Some of the times we definitely, uh… there were some bad ones. Normally when it comes to the sensitive titles, we try to tell them “we can give you the link to your ticket,” so we don’t have to say it aloud. They can call in or come to the front of the help desk and we’ll turn the computer screen so they can see; that usually shuts them up, but sometimes they keep asking.
TBS: Can you recall any of those titles?
UF IT: There was Girls Gone Wild – Coed Tryout and Island Orgy… one person had over 70 violations and they were all porn.
TBS: That is a shit-ton of porn. Is there a certain time of year these sweeps happen, so we, uh I mean our readers, know when to be most careful?
UF IT: Not really, but it usually happens once or twice a semester. Probably like once each quarter, but mostly near the beginning and ends of the year.
TBS: Is there a support group for humiliated men on campus?
UF IT: Not yet, to my knowledge. We try to be of help though. We do try our best not to humiliate anybody. It’s awkward because it’s a personal thing but we’re not some group making fun of stuff people are getting off on in their private time.
TBS: What about streaming?
UF IT: Streaming of stuff is totally fine. It just becomes an issue when you actually download the stuff, or use peer-to-peer software – utorrent, BitTorrent, etc.
TBS: Great, so students can stream as much of Island Orgy as their little hearts desire! Do you have any advice for our hungry Wi-Fi users trying to download these illegal files?
UF IT: Yeah, for downloading— don’t. Something I always tell people, in order to connect to UF Wi-Fi, you have to have your UF ID and password put in, so it’s so freaking easy to catch you. Go to Starbucks or Panera, but for UF Wi-Fi, the system knows who you are. Don’t be dumb. If you’re going to do it, don’t do it on campus – do it where it’s not easy for people to know who’s downloading what because you’re not signed in to the Wi-Fi.
Or just stream your porn like every other poor schmuck!
We thanked our IT man for his inside scoop on these recent events. Perhaps UF should present a seminar on how to watch porn in the dorms for upcoming freshmen only, but we suppose then the masses of faculty, who don’t check their email, will be at a loss without the information and should be included as well. In the end, if you or someone you know is suffering from a debilitating addiction to downloading porn — like so much goddamn porn — call the IT help desk or high-boot it to a Starbucks to whack off in the bathroom.
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