Dartmouth is installing a wireless computer network for students, faculty and staff to connect to the network from anywhere on campus. We are studying the traffic on the wireless network to understand how this network is used. To ensure user privacy, this study will maintain user anonymity and examine only the header information of data passing through the network. Header information specifies the type of information that is being transferred over the network. This specifically excludes the contents of the data, such as, usernames, passwords, filenames and files.
We will never release any data that will identify any user or their specific data.
1) If I am connected to the wireless network:
i) Do you know who I am?
No. We are only monitoring hardware addresses for statistical purposes, never will a portable device be linked to its user.
ii) Do you know where I am?
No. We will log information about which devices (referenced by hardware addresses) are connected to the network at particular times. This information will be used to track the movement of devices. More concretely, it will be known that a particular device was connected to a particular access point in the network at a particular time but the owner of that device will be unknown.
iii) Will there be a log containing the files I have downloaded?
No. The filenames and content of the information you transfer on the network is referred to as the payload. Our devices never examine the payload.
iv) If I log onto Blitzmail, or other account will my password be stored?
No. Passwords and usernames are not monitored or saved.
v) I use the internet make credit card purchases, will you see my credit card number?
No. Information such as credit card numbers will not be monitored.
vi) Do you know where I've been browsing?
The study may log hostnames for statistical purposes. However, sites will never be associated with users. We will monitor the length of the time a user has been using the wireless network for any activity, including browsing. However, as mentioned the user will remain totally anonymous.
vii) Will these devices hinder the speed of the network?
Minimally. We will create a minimal amount of traffic (at most 0.3% of the network bandwidth) to transfer statistical data. The wireless network will never be affected.
2) How are devices being monitored?
We will measure statistics about the traffic on all of the wireless access points, to measure how many devices are connected, how much data is transferred, and the like. We will monitor selected access points in more detail, using a network monitoring device installed near the access point. Those monitors will record all of the network "headers", but none of the "payload". That means these devices will record what types of application (e.g., web browser, email) is being used, but not record any of the pages downloaded, mail transferred, usernames, passwords, or other private information.
Also, whenever a user connects to or disconnects from the network we will make a record of the event in a log. The entry will have the user's hardware address so the user still will still remain anonymous.
3) Can I see the results of the study?
Sure. By the end of spring term the results of the study will be available on this website.