See our latest COVID updates.

General Frequently Asked Question

Should I use third-party software in my class?

Use Caution When Using Third-Party Software

Most third-party software vendors that offer computer-related services for free or nearly-free do not meet the stringent security and privacy protection levels required by UC and UCSC. Here's what we suggest:

Expect exposure

Don’t use external information systems or services for anything that you’re not prepared to disclose or lose. It is best to assume that whatever information goes to or through the service may become public. This includes records of activities of those using the service, such as who used the service, what they used it for and when, etc.

Read the company’s privacy policy.

There should be a link to it somewhere on their website. Know what the vendor is going to do with the information you and others provide. This includes who they may provide information to and who they will allow to access it. What permissions have you granted by accepting their agreement/Terms of Use?

Understand your legal recourse.

You may be agreeing to terms and conditions, terms of service, and acceptable use policies that are different from UCSC’s or UC's. The company can hold you to what you agree to, even if it is just a “click-to-accept”-type agreement. Also, if the service is free or "clickwrap" you will probably have little or no recourse against the vendor if something goes wrong or they do something you don't agree with.