I explain the law behind the use of cookies and the basics of cookies - what they are and what we use them for.  I also explain how using cookies can be helpful to you and provide a useful link to explain how to control which cookies your browser accepts.

The Law & Its Regulation

The EU Directive entered UK law in May 2011 as “The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EU Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011” and it included a change requiring consent for storage or access to information stored on a subscribers or users terminal equipment – in other words a requirement to obtain consent for cookies and similar technologies.  Consent to use cookies has to be specific and informed and a positive indication that users understand and accept cookies has to be attained – commonly obtained by asking users to tick a check box that they agree to the changes and to allow cookies.  “The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EU Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011” is regulated by the Information Commissioners office (ICO).  Please click on link to view the ICO website for further information and guidance www.ico.gov.uk.

 

What are cookies?

A cookie is a piece of text file that is stored on your computer or mobile device by a website browser and only that browser can retrieve or read the contents of that cookie - each cookie is unique to your web browser.

 

How they work

When you visit a website for the first time, a cookie is downloaded onto your computer.  The next time you visit that website, your computer checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant and if so sends the information contained in that cookie back to the website.  Cookies may come from different sources such as the website itself, advertising banners or other graphics that make up a webpage.

 

Types of cookies

 

Session cookies – these cookies last as long as your current visit to the site or up to a certain amount of time if you keep the site open without using it.

Persistent cookies – these cookies remember information from previous visits, for example, names and details from online forms.  They are used to collect anonymous statistics about how many people use the site and to maintain any settings you have changed.

 

How I use cookies

I use cookies to monitor how people use my site.  This helps me to understand how my users and potential customers use my website so I can develop and improve the design or layout, add more relevant content and enhance my user’s experience of my website.  The data collected is completely anonymous and does not contain any personal data.

The benefits of cookies

Cookies make the interaction between you and the website faster and easier and without cookies the website will think you are a new visitor every time you move to a new page.  By using cookies, a site will know that you have been there before, and in some cases, tailors web content to take account of this based on what you have looked at or done previously.  Some cookies are more sophisticated.  They might record how long you spend on each page on a site, what links you clicked, even your preferences for page layouts and colour schemes.  They can also be used to store data on what is in your shopping cart.

Concerns about cookies

There is nothing particularly secretive about the information gathered by the use of cookies, but you may be concerned that your web behaviour is being used to target you for special offers or deals as these offers and deals may ‘pop-up’ at a time when you are browsing another website or using a website you previously visited.

Control your cookies

Almost all web browsers allow you the option to block cookies.  This means you can choose to block all cookies or choose which ones to accept.  This can however make web browsing difficult as some sites do not work or work less well with cookies disabled.  To find out more about cookies including how to see which cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, please click on the following link www.allaboutcookies.org.

Cookie Policy