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University Information Services

This policy relates to personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998, held on the University Information Services database, Jackdaw. The Jackdaw system also runs a Web server. The server is covered by its its own privacy policy.

This database is used:

  • to support the adminstration of user accounts, both on the computing systems run by the University Information Services itself, and on some other computing systems within the University and Colleges,
  • to provide a datafeed to the University Lookup Service
  • to support aspects of the adminstration of the Cambridge University Data Network (CUDN).

User Administration

The database controls the issue of Common Registration Scheme identifiers (CRSids). These are short alpha-numeric sequences which are used as login names on various computing systems, and as e-mail addresses. The database issues a CRSid for each potential user of computing systems in the University. CRSids are issued for life.

If a person returns to the University after a long absence, we attempt to issue them with the same CRSid and to reactivate their old accounts on our systems. This may give them access to archives of their own data. It is therefore important that returnees are correctly identified. To support this re-identification, information about departed members of the University is kept indefinitely.

The database contains the following types of personal information:

  • CRSids
  • past and present names
  • dates of birth
  • past and present affiliations to University departments or Colleges
  • which courses students have applied for, and when
  • details of University Information Services accounts including quota, initial password etc.
  • notes concerning the administration of these accounts
  • aggregated usage data for these accounts
  • postal addresses (private addresses are only stored at the data subject's request)
  • whether e-mail addressed to is accepted, and if so, where it is to be delivered
  • whether the above e-mail address is to be included in the world readable Web e-mail directory
  • identification numbers which link this database with other administrative databases in the University as follows
    • University Staff Numbers
    • University Student Numbers
    • Applications numbers such as those issued by CamSIS, UCAS, GTTR etc.
    • University Card identifiers
    • University Card barcodes

Some types of update to the database are logged. The log records identify the person who made the update, and are thus themselves personal data.

Some or all of the above data is held for anyone who has applied for or been issued with a CRSid since 1971.

Since about 1990, CRSids have been assigned to new staff and students automatically. In order that students may be able to use computing resources as soon as they arrive, it is necessary to carry out this automatic registration in advance. This means that the database contains records for some people who applied to the University, but never, for one reason or another, arrived.

Much of the data in this database is automatically derived from other administrative databases in the University, namely those of the Personnel Division, CamSIS and the University Card office. For identification purposes the Jackdaw database contains historical as well as current extracts from these other databases. These extracts contain only data as described above. None of the more confidential material contained in these other databases ever appears in the Jackdaw database.

The dates of birth in the database are treated as confidential. Only a small number of University Information Services staff have access to them. They are used solely for identification purposes.

Individual people's usage data is made available to University Information Services staff. Some of it is also available to the data subjects themselves. This data is de-personalised by further aggregation before publication in the University Information Services Annual Report or distribution in any other form.

This Web e-mail directory accesses the Jackdaw database directly. It is accessible from all over the world. It is searchable by name, and reveals the names, affiliations and e-mail addresses of people who have opted to be included in it.

This is the only direct way in which data from this database is made available to the public at large. However, other University Information Services systems download the names, affiliations and CRSids of their registered users from the Jackdaw database. These systems may publish this data in other ways. In particular, the CRSid, name and Institution in the University Lookup Service are derived from the Jackdaw database

Selected staff of the University and Colleges have direct access to the database for various administrative purposes including, but not restricted to:

  • administration of computer systems outside the University Information Services
  • compilation electronic mailing lists for use for University or College business

These staff cannot see the dates of birth, passwords, usage data or update logging data, nor can they see some of the historical data used only for identification purposes. However, they can see all the e-mail addresses in the database, including those that have been hidden from the world readable Web e-mail directory . The mechanism for opting out of this directory is not intended to, and does not, prevent people's e-mail addresses in the domain being discovered by other members of the University. It is only intended to prevent these addresses being published to the world at large.

Network Administration

The Jackdaw database contains data used in the administration of the University's IP network addresses and DNS zone.

This section of the database is primarily about computers connected to the CUDN, not people. However, it does mention people as being

  • owners, system administrators or end users of computers
  • administrators of domains
  • managers of the system as a whole

The physical locations of computers are also recorded.

All updates to this section of the database are logged, and before-images are kept. The log records identify the people making the changes.

Extracts from this data are loaded into the University's DNS servers, and thus distributed throughout the world. These extracts consist essentially of the mappings between domain names and IP addresses. They do not contain the personal data mentioned above.

The administration of this data is delegated to members of staff in the Colleges and University Departments. Only these members of staff, and a few staff in University Information Services, can see this data. The administrators outside University Information Services can see only data relevant to the domains they administer. Thus a Computer Officer in one college cannot see data about computers in another college.