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Alumni email and the cam.ac.uk domain

A "lifetime" email forwarding facility is offered to alumni under the auspices of the University Development Office; addresses are in the domain cantab.net. This facility is provided by a third party (Aluminati Ltd) so alumni are not deemed to be "using" Cambridge IT infrastructure.

The Information Services Committee (ISC) discussed lifetime email facilities at its meetings in June 2000 and February 2002 and agreed that there are four main concerns for institutions which might be considering offering such facilities as an alternative to cantab.net:

  1. Legal liability - when students leave the University any formal or implied contract ceases and so the University's insurance arrangements might well not provide cover against legal claims arising from failure of the alumni email system. The cantab.net service has legally binding terms and conditions to which alumni have to agree before signing up. Any University institution or College should ensure some similar scheme is in place before offering alumni email facilities.
  2. The cam.ac.uk domain - addresses in this domain are used for current University and College IT facilities. Anyone with an email address within cam.ac.uk might reasonably be assumed to have some current active association with Cambridge University. The continued use of such addresses by students after their final year and staff after cessation of employment may well mislead recipients into thinking that the sender holds a University position.
  3. Use of the CUDN - the ISC document Authorisation for use of the CUDN specifies that "staff and resident students of the University, and staff, fellows and students of the University's Colleges are authorized to use the CUDN whilst holding those positions." Others require individual authorization by the appropriate Head of Department or Head of House. As noted above, this restriction is only relevant if mail is actually being stored on CUDN-connected systems such as departmental mailers; a "forwarding only" system like cantab.net does not constitute use of the CUDN in the normally accepted sense.
  4. Use of JANET - the JANET acceptable use policy states that use of JANET must be in furtherance of the aims of the University. There is considerable feeling that use by alumni for business, political or any other non-University purpose contravenes this regulation. Again, under the accepted meaning of "use" this would not apply to a forwarding-only facility.