What are Cookies?
A cookie is a small text file which contains a snippet of information that is downloaded to your computer or mobile device to improve your experience while you are using the website. You can think of it like a post-it note that the website leaves on your browser to remind the website about you when you move from page to page or return to the website at a later stage.
Cookies can…only store information that you have given explicitly or metrics you have already provided by interacting with the website.
Cookies cannot…read, steal or send information from your computer!
Preferences – Let’s say you have seen our cookie information disclaimer and consented to accept our cookies. We do not want to keep asking you for your consent every time you visit our website, as you have already agreed to it and you may not wish to be pestered with the same question. We will then set a cookie to identify that you have already agreed to our policy and will hide the notification from you from that point onwards.
Tracking – We may monitor which pages are most used on our website or how long users spend looking at some content on our website. This helps us to monitor the content that our clients value and also update unused content to make it more appealing to our visitors and improve their user experience. In order to identify unique visits, we would set a cookie so we know when you return or at which point you decide you have had enough.
Why you should care about cookies
You have an interest in cookies because:
- It’s your right to know what information websites store on your computer. (See the EU Cookie law)
- You should make an informed decision whether you explicitly or implicitly allow websites to set cookies on your browser.
The EU Cookie Law (or EU E-Privacy Directive) is a law that has been brought across Europe to help consumers make informed choices about the cookies they accept on their computers. The UK started to enforce the law in May 2012 so all websites need to be compliant or risk fines of up to £500,000.
Unfortunately in most cases there are no industry standard options for disabling cookies without completely disabling the functionality and features that they add to the website. It is recommended that you leave on all the cookies if you are not sure whether you need them or not in case they are used to provide a service that you use.
If you choose not to have cookies on your device, you can stop cookies from being set in the first place. Generally, you can prevent the setting of cookies by adjusting the settings on your browser. The procedure will differ from browser to browser and you should consult your browser’s help file. You can also have a read through the free resources we mentioned above. They offer some guidance on cookies and how to disable them in the most popular browsers. If you are unsure, you should consult your browser’s manufacturer, the application provider or a local support technician for advice.
Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of the websites that you visit, as this will cause collateral damage on some functionality and features of the website. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not disable any cookies.
The effect of disallowing cookies depends on what you are trying to achieve while using the website. If you were:
You will probably notice very little difference apart from perhaps preferences not being maintained, certain offers not being available or consistent reminders appearing on the screen.
Using data entry forms, login, restricted areas and social media
Data entry forms may not work as expected although simple single page forms may be unaffected. Login and restricted areas will be unavailable and you will probably be asked to log in time and time again without ever being able to see the content. Social media like Facebook and Twitter share buttons will work with a limited feature set where possible. Other more advanced features may not function at all.
For example, third party analytics are used to track and measure usage of this website so that we can continue to produce engaging content. We may monitor which pages are most used on our website or how long users spend looking at some content on our website. This helps us monitor the content that our clients value and update unused content to make it more appealing to our user base and improve their user experience. In order to identify unique visits, we would set a cookie so we know when you return, or at which point you decide you have had enough.
We respect your privacy and will never knowingly partner with companies who use irresponsible or negligent practices and techniques. Suppliers are vetted before any functionality is added onto our websites. Like everything else technology is forever evolving and changes may be made to third party technology without us knowing. We do monitor and take a proactive role in protecting your privacy and will immediately remove features if any irresponsible or negligent behaviour from any partners or technology providers become known to us.
We would also recommend reading our Data Protection Policy in full to understand how we set cookies on your device and why.