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Draft Code of Practice for Internet Usage in Organisations

Policies and Guidelines

NB: This is a draft code of practice which is only a recommendation. It covers topics in a general way that organisations should adapt and amend for their own purposes.

It is important that organisations be aware that Internet activity that is not illegal on a home computer can still cause legal issues at work. These can include employees accidentally damaging the organisation's reputation and harassment complaints about material that is offensive to other staff.

This draft code of practice does not discuss issues that are outside the Department's jurisdiction, and you should also consider advice from human resources and employment law specialists.

Schools must provide a safe environment for their students, and the Ministry of Education strongly recommends that this include an Internet safety protocol applying to all staff and students.
The Ministry has distributed Internet safety kits to schools. Further copies and more information are available from the Internet Safety Group, which produces the kits.

Table Of Contents

Policy Objective
Policy Statements
Breach of Policies and Guidelines
More Information


These Internet policies and guidelines are designed to ensure that staff are aware of the appropriate usage of the Internet and their responsibilities.
This policy should be reviewed regularly to take into account the changing nature of the Internet and the laws surrounding its use.

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Throughout this document, reference to the Internet should be taken to include all on-line services such as the World Wide Web, e-mail, newsgroups, chat groups and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers. The policies and guidelines should:

  • apply to all staff

  • be designed to be used in conjunction with existing policies such as disaster recovery and human resources

  • are consistent with the Human Resources guidelines already signed by all employees.

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    Policy Objective

    The objective of these policies and guidelines is to allow open access to the Internet during the course of all business. Responsibility for use and management of use of the Internet lies with the manager and their employee. The guidelines can be used to protect the employer if abuse is suspected and/or proved. The guidelines are also designed to protect the employee as long as they are followed. The guidelines provide:

  • A framework for providing desktop access to the Internet

  • Direction and guidance on appropriate use of the Internet.

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    Policy Statements

    Use of the Internet - Use of the Internet by staff is permitted and encouraged when it is being used for business purposes and supports the goals and objectives of the employer.

    2. Standards of Conduct - The Internet should only be used as part of the normal execution of an employee's responsibilities and should be used in a manner that is consistent with the employer's standards of business conduct.

    3. Protocols - Information communicated via the Internet should be subject to the same protocols and publication standards as traditional means of communication (e.g. approval by manager, reviewed by Marketing and Communications manager etc).

    4. Monitoring Rights - The Management of (organisation) reserves the right to monitor the volume and cost of network traffic generated by each person at all times, and the right to monitor, access, retrieve and read all communication in the following circumstances:

  • Legitimate business need (e.g. routine system administration, access to information when the employee is unavailable but timing is critical)

  • Reasonable suspicion of prohibited activities.

  • Information obtained in these circumstances may be disclosed to direct managers of staff members involved and other authorities if necessitated by the information retrieved.

    5. Copyright - The presence of a body of work on the Internet does not necessarily mean that there is an automatic right to copy. Works may only be copied where the author has expressed or implied that authorised copying can occur. Staff should not post any information protected by copyright unless permission has been officially provided. Users must abide by all software licensing agreements, copyright laws and other applicable regulations.

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    1. Accuracy of Information
    - Users should be aware that information on the Internet may be inaccurate or untimely and there is a danger that opinions may be presented as facts.

    2. Appropriate Activities - staff using the Internet must ensure that the use they make is 'appropriate'. Examples of appropriate use include:

  • Conducting research & investigation in support of output delivery

  • Communication and information exchange with Government agencies and other organisations as required by business (if relevant)

  • Retrieving news stories or other information of interest to the (organisation)

  • Professional development activity, such as maintaining currency with and/or debating issues in, a field of knowledge. This includes personal development activity, such as university associations and professional societies.

    3. Prohibited Activities - staff must not use the Internet for inappropriate purposes. Inappropriate use includes but is not limited to:

  • Visiting sites or receiving communications that contain material that is obscene, objectionable*, or likely to be offensive. (* For a definition of "objectionable" see A Glossary of Terms).

  • Gambling

  • Soliciting for personal gain or profit

  • Making or posting indecent remarks and proposals

  • Uploading or downloading commercial software in violation of its copyright

  • Downloading any software or electronic files without reasonable virus protection measures in place

  • Passing off personal views as representing those of the (organisation)

  • Any activity that violates New Zealand law and / or the public service code of conduct

  • Extensive private usage - It is not the role of this document to define "extensive": this is a matter to be addressed between the manager and their staff member. Use is likely to be extensive when it either interferes with production of business unit outputs or costs the business unit an unacceptable amount of money.

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    Staff of are responsible for:
  • Checking that any files downloaded from the Internet are checked for virus infection, and immediately informing the relevant manager if a virus is detected

  • Adhering to the Internet policy and guidelines, and immediately reporting to the relevant manager any perceived weaknesses or breaches of this policy as soon as they become aware of them

  • Validating and authenticating information retrieved from the Internet before it is used for business purposes

  • Ensuring all information posted to or communicated via the Internet is accurate and has an appropriate level of authorisation

  • Not sharing their password, user identification or other secure information

  • Not using unauthorised codes or passwords to gain access to other's files.

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    Breach of These Responsibilities and Guidelines

    Any breach of these policies and guidelines will be investigated and dealt with. Any staff member found to be in breach of these policies may be subject to disciplinary action including dismissal.

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    More Information

    Enquiries may be directed to any of the following offices:

    Censorship Office
    Department of Internal Affairs
    PO Box 21 105
    Tel: (09) 836 8604
    Fax: (09) 836 2977

    Censorship Office

    Department of Internal Affairs
    PO Box 805
    Tel: (04) 495 9383
    Tel: (04) 495 9386
    Fax: (04) 495 9389

    Censorship Office

    Department of Internal Affairs
    PO Box 1308
    Tel: (03) 353 8310
    Fax: (03) 353 8310

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    Last updated: 18/12/2002