A cookie is a file containing an identifier (a string of letters and numbers) that is sent by a web server to a web browser, and stored by the browser. The identifier is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.
Cookies can be used by web servers to identity and track users as they navigate different pages on a website and to identify users returning to a website.
Cookies may be either “persistent” cookies or “session” cookies. A persistent cookie consists of a text file sent by a web server to a web browser, which will be stored by the browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date (unless deleted by the user before the expiry date). A session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.
Cookies do not contain any information that personally identifies you, but personal information that we store about you may be linked, by us, to the information stored in and obtained from cookies.
We may use the information we obtain from your use of our cookies for the following purposes:
- to recognise your computer when you visit our website;
- to track you as you navigate our website, and to enable the use of the [specify feature – e.g. shopping cart] on our website;
- to improve the website’s usability;
- to analyse the use of our website;
- in the administration of this website;
- to prevent fraud and improve the security of the website;
- to personalise our website for you[, including targeting advertisements which may be of particular interest to you
The information generated by the cookie about your use of our site (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States.
No personal data which you enter on our website will be sent to Google or stored by Google Analytics Cookies.
Google will use this information for the purposes of evaluating your use of our site, compiling reports on website activity for us and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage.
Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.
Most browsers allow you to refuse to accept cookies.
- in Internet Explorer you can refuse all cookies by clicking “Tools”, “Internet Options”, “Privacy”, and selecting “Block all cookies” using the sliding selector;
- in Firefox you can block all cookies by clicking “Tools”, “Options”, and un-checking “Accept cookies from sites” in the “Privacy” box.
Blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites.
You can also delete cookies already stored on your computer:
- in Internet Explorer, you must manually delete cookie files (you can find instructions for doing so at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278835)
- in Firefox, you can delete cookies by, first ensuring that cookies are to be deleted when you “clear private data” (this setting can be changed by clicking “Tools”, “Options” and “Settings” in the “Private Data” box) and then clicking “Clear private data” in the “Tools” menu.
Doing this may have a negative impact on the usability of many websites.