What are cookies?
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer, or tablet/smartphone, when you visit a website. Cookies are used by most websites and can do a number of things, like; remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website.
Most cookies are designed to either ensure all the website’s features work properly or to provide the website owner with anonymous information about how you use their site so they can make improvements to the user experience. These cookies are known as 1st party cookies.
3rd party cookies are usually related to advertising. Advertisers typically use this type of cookie to see which websites you have visited and then show you targeted adverts that are more relevant to you.
The rules on cookies are covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The Regulations also cover similar technologies for storing information, eg Flash cookies. The Regulations were revised in 2011, and the ICO is responsible for enforcing these new rules.
Our website uses a 1st party cookie to find out how people are using our website (Google Analytics). We use analytics cookies to identify which pages are being used, how they are being used and what methods are being used to view them. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and this does not include any personally identifiable information.
What we don’t do:
- Remember or store any personally identifiable information
- Send information to other websites
- Record your visit so advertising on other websites is more relevant to you.
Our website also makes use of social sharing buttons so you can easily ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ our content on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. The privacy implications on this will vary from social network to social network and will be dependent on the privacy settings you have chosen on these networks.
What do the new rules mean?
How will these new rules impact on me when I use the internet?
As organisations start to comply with these rules you are likely to start to see more information about cookies on sites and be given more choices about these cookies. This might include, for example, being asked to agree to a cookie being used for a particular service, such as remembering your preferences on a site.
Organisations will need to decide on the best way to provide clear information about cookies and to give people using their websites the right choices. They will also want to make sure that these changes do not adversely affect the experience of people using the internet. This should ensure they find a solution which meets the requirements in a way that works well for their site and meets the needs of people using it.
How can I control my cookies?
Browser controls You can use your web browser to:
- delete all cookies
- block all cookies
- allow all cookies
- block third-party cookies
- clear all cookies when you close the browser
- open a ‘private browsing’ session
- install add-ons and plug-ins to extend broswer functionality