21 May 2021
45 Pipitea St
PO Box 805
Phone +64 4 495 7200
Via email: fyi-request-15028-
Fax +64 4 495 7222
Tēnā koe Daniel
Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request dated 31 March 2021 (OIA 20/21 0555)
Thank you for your OIA request dated 31 March 2021 to the Department of Internal Affairs
(Department). You requested –
• As per Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System Code of Practice - March 2013
section 4.3: "Meetings of the IRG will be held at least three times a year" and 4.6:
"Reports to the IRG and minutes of meetings of the IRG shall be published on the
I am requesting the minutes and briefing documents of all the 2020 and 2021 (if any)
meetings of the Independent Reference Group. There are no minutes or briefing
documents on the DIA website for 2020/2021.
• The 2019 meeting minutes (from
state 4.5: "Caroline Neame noted that the filter list size (604 websites) remains the
same – but there have been some changes made by variation. Filter list is overdue for
audit check of list. "I am requesting all documents and communications relating to
the audit check done on the filter list mentioned in section 4.5 of the November 2019
• I am also requesting the CAB paper and all documents/communications relating to
the CAB paper mentioned in section 5.8 of the November 2019 meeting minutes.
Response to your request
The Code of Practice requires the Independent Reference Group (IRG) to meet at least three
times per year. The IRG only met once in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 and the need
for an urgent replacement of the filter. A member of the IRG was involved in the five-month
process to secure and implement a replacement filter service. The replacement filter was in
place by 31 August 2020 and an IRG meeting was held on 4 November 2020.
The minutes of IRG meetings are now available on the Department website here.
briefing documentation and the agenda for the November 2020 meeting are included with
this letter as Documents 1 and 2.
The IRG have already met once in 2021, with the first meeting held on 22 April 2021. The
minutes for this meeting have also been published on the Department’s website (same link
as above). A further two meetings are already scheduled for later in the year.
In the context of the minutes from the November 2019 meeting the term “audit check”
relates to a full review of the URLs included on the Digital Child Exploitation Filter (DCEF)
Block List. The audit check took place to review whether each URL on the list should remain
on the list or should be removed.
Audit checks are carried out as regular operational work. The planning relating to the review
mentioned in section 4.5 of the November 2019 meeting minutes was done verbally.
Addtionally, within scope of this portion of your request is the spreadsheet used to track
website URLs which are included on the Block List. This spreadsheet is withheld in full as it
holds information which identifies blocked sites, plus links to those sites, in reliance on
section 6(c) of the OIA.
For your information, we can inform you that as a result of this review 312 URLs were
removed from the DCEF Block List and 277 URLs remained on the list.
The Cabinet paper you have requested as referenced in the November 2019 meeting
minutes is publicly available on the Department’s website here.
Also, within this link is
documentation associated with the Cabinet paper. You were advised of this on 13 May 2021
and you confirmed on the 14 May 2021 that the remainder of part three (all documents and
communications relating to the Cabinet paper) were no longer required.
If you are dissatisfied with the Department’s decision on your request for information, you
have the right, under section 28 of the OIA, to make a complaint to the Office of the
Ombudsman. The Office of the Ombudsman can be contacted by phone on 0800 802 602,
via post at PO Box 10152 Wellington or via email to [email address].
Director Digital Safety
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