09 October 2020
[FYI request #13776 email]
Thank you for your Official Information Act request to the Department of Conservation,
received on 12 September 2020 in which you asked for: Name the 94 porn sites DOC staff made direct access requests to, as mentioned 11/11/2019
in an NZ Herald article.
To provide some context, in this instance the term “direct access request” means typing the
website name into the search bar or clicking on a link in the webpage. Advertising passing
through websites often has these links in it.
URLs for porn sites are frequently embedded in advertising on legitimate sites which means
people can be referred or directed to blocked sites. DOC’s firewall blocks links and referrals
to restricted sites. Staff would be unaware their computer was trying to access these sites.
We are confident that DOC staff are not searching for adult or X-rated websites. Access to
the websites is blocked in any case. If staff attempted to access adult websites, they would
be automatically blocked and would get an automated message noting that the site is
blocked. Contrary to the NZ Herald report, the filter system blocked 46 direct access
requests to sites classified as porn sites. Further testing shows some of the links do not
connect to any site while some of the other sites appear to be websites containing embedded
links to blocked content.
DOC along with all public services agencies and staff sign up to the Public Service
Commission Standards of integrity and Conduct. It provides the basis for ongoing trust in the
State Services and protects staff by setting out clear expectations, so that everyone knows
their obligations and what is required of them, see this section which relates to responsible
use of government resources https://www.publicservice.govt.nz/resources/code-guidance-
We are satisfied that staff are aware of our IT policy
and are not accessing pornographic sites.
Direction and guidance for staff using the internet are set in the Department’s Use of
Technology Standing Operating Procedure (SOP), and I have attached this for your
Chief Information Officer
Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai
Appendix 1: List of sites
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