Information security

Protecting official information from unauthorised access and accidental disclosure. The New Zealand Government Classification System protects official information through a series of security measures.


Protecting official information from unauthorised access and accidental disclosure

The New Zealand Government Security Classification System protects official information through a series of security measures. Once in place, these measures apply to anyone with access to official information.

Overview of security classifications

A security classification specifies how people must protect the information and equipment they handle. Security classifications can be divided into two types of information: policy and privacy information national security information.

Security classifications for policy and privacy information

This section covers the IN CONFIDENCE and SENSITIVE security classifications. IN CONFIDENCEUse the IN CONFIDENCE classification when the compromise of information is likely to: prejudice the maintenance of law and order impede the effective conduct of government adversely affect the privacy of New Zealand citizens.

Security classifications for national security information

This section covers the RESTRICTED, CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, and TOP SECRET security classifications. RESTRICTEDUse the RESTRICTED security classification when the compromise of information would be likely to adversely affect the national interest.

Identifying national security information

Use the Classification helper flow chart to help you identify national security information. Classification helper flow chart Definition of ‘national security information’National security information is defined as any official information or resource (including equipment) that records information about, or is associated with, New Zealand’s: protection from espionage, sabotage, politically-motivated violence, promotion of communal violence, attacks on New Zealand’s defence system, acts of foreign interference protection of territorial and border integrity from serious threats defence plans and operations international relations (significant political and economic relations with international organisations and foreign governments) law enforcement operations (where compromise could hamper or make useless national crime prevention strategies or particular investigations; or adversely affect personal safety) national interest (relating to economic, scientific, or technological matters vital to New Zealand’s stability and integrity).

Security classifications for Cabinet documents

This section covers Cabinet documents, such as Cabinet and Cabinet committee agendas, papers, minutes, and memos. Documents that Cabinet uses to formulate policy and make decisions require special protective measures.

Security classifications for information from foreign governments

This section covers applying security classifications to information from foreign governments. New Zealand government organisations must adhere to any provisions concerning the security of people, information and assets contained in multilateral or bilateral agreements and arrangements to which New Zealand or the organisation is a party.

Endorsement and compartmented markings

This section covers markings used alongside security classifications to show that information has extra security requirements. Endorsement markingsEndorsement markings warn people that information has special requirements.

Guidelines for protective markings

This section gives answers to some common questions about protective markings. How to identify information that needs protective markingUse the Business Impact Levels (BILs) to assess what the likely consequences of information being compromised, disclosed without authorisation, or misused.