Student email privacy FAQ

Red River College Polytechnic offers students the power of cloud productivity with Microsoft’s Office 365 for education. The Office 365 services currently available are listed below, and more services will be added to the list as they become available:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Anti‑virus/anti‑spam
  • Personal archive (including a 50 GB inbox)
NOTE: Accepting this offer requires that you understand the conditions outlined on this page.

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a network of servers that allows you to store and access data and programs using the Internet rather than your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet that goes beyond just using the Internet. Cloud computing is a deployment model for applications that is used by an organization in order to reduce infrastructure costs and address capacity and scalability concerns. Operating in the cloud means an organization does not need to own its computer hardware and software assets or operate these systems in its own data centre. Although an organization does not own the computer and software infrastructure powering its systems, it still owns the intellectual property within the software that is operating in the cloud.

When using cloud services, where will my emails and data be stored?

Your emails and data will be stored on the cloud, which means that they may pass through, or be stored in, any location in the world. However, since Microsoft is a US company, your emails and data will be subject to the Patriot Act. Additionally, your data may travel through, or be stored in, other countries which may have different, and potentially less stringent, privacy laws than Canada.

Should I be concerned about the effect the Patriot Act will have on the privacy of my emails or data?

No emails or data are ever truly secure, regardless of where they are stored. Canada has laws similar to the United States’ Patriot Act, and Canada has international agreements with the United States that allow the transmission of information about Canadians (including emails and data) and people in Canada to American authorities. In other words, regardless of whether your emails are stored on servers or on the cloud, Canadian and American authorities could potentially gain access to your emails or data without your consent or knowledge.

Are emails that I send and receive secure?

Emails sent through any email provider are never secure. The privacy of your emails can be compromised in many different ways, including the following: (1) if an email is unencrypted, it can be intercepted while en route to its intended recipients; (2) the recipients of your email may not store their emails in a secure manner; or (3) the recipients of your email can forward your email to others.

Before sending any email, you should consider whether the contents are confidential. Refer to the following guidelines to improve the security of your emails while using the Student Email system:

  • Treat your email as confidential and never share your password with anyone.
  • If you think your log on credentials have been compromised, immediately access the RRC Polytech Change your password page, and reset your password.
  • Never assume that any email is private, and never send confidential, personal, or health‑related information using the Student Email system.

What do I do if I do not want my emails or data stored on the cloud?

If you do not want to use Office 365 for your student email account, you must submit an IT support request using the ITS Service Desk webpage and request an on‑premise (on‑prem) mailbox for use while you are a student at Red River College Polytechnic. An on‑prem mailbox is fully functional and allows you to communicate with the College and your Instructors, but it will not have the same features or mailbox size limits as the Office 365 student email service.

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