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Cookies

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Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used to make websites work and to function more effectively. For example, they may be required to keep you logged in to a service, or to remember your user preferences or shopping cart contents. A cookie will typically contain a record of the web site which issued it, its own name, and a value which is often a randomly generated unique number.

A cookie will have a ‘lifetime’, which tells your browser when to delete it. Cookies can be set by the website domain itself, or by another domain.

Session cookie
A session cookie lasts only for the duration of the user’s website visit. A web browser normally deletes session cookies when you leave the site.

Persistent cookie
A persistent cookie will outlast user sessions. If a persistent cookie has its maximum age set to 1 year, then, within the year, the initial value set in that cookie would be sent back to the server every time the user visited the server. This could be used to record a piece of information such as how the user initially came to this website. For this reason persistent cookies are also called tracking cookies.

Secure cookie
A secure cookie is only used when a browser is visiting a server via HTTPS, ensuring that the cookie is always encrypted when transmitting from client to server.

First-party cookie
First-party cookies are cookies set with the same domain (or its subdomain) in the browser's address bar.

Third-party cookie
Third-party cookies are cookies set with different domains from the one shown on the address bar (i.e. the web pages on that domain may feature content from a third-party domain - e.g. Google Maps or YouTube). Privacy setting options in most modern browsers allow you to block third-party tracking cookies.

The principal law which governs how websites use cookies and similar technologies when storing information on a user’s equipment, such as their computer or mobile device, is the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations. The regulations were amended on 26 May 2011.

Regulation 6 covers the use of electronic communications networks to store information (e.g. cookies) or to gain access to information stored in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user. The change in the law was prompted by concerns about online tracking of individuals and is intended to protect the privacy of users by requiring their knowledge and agreement to the use of cookies, even where the information collected is not directly personally identifiable.

You can manually disable cookies on your computer, or delete existing cookies. You may also be able to view the cookies already in your system. This will depend on your browser. Follow the links below which tell you how to delete or disable cookies in each of the major browsers.

Internet Explorer 7 & 8

Internet Explorer 9 & 10

Firefox

Chrome

Safari

Please note that cookies are essential to the effective functioning of some of the services we offer online. If you disable cookies, a number of important functions and services will be unavailable to you and our website may not operate correctly in your browser.

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