16 January 2016
WHAT ARE 'COOKIES'?
Cookies are small text files which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or application. Your web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome) then sends these cookies back to the website or application on each subsequent visit so that they can recognise you and remember things like personalised details or user preferences.
Cookies are very useful and do lots of different jobs which help to make your experience on websites as smooth as possible. For example, they let you move between web pages efficiently, remembering your preferences, and generally improving your experience (see below for more examples). They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
They are referred to as session or persistent cookies, depending on how long they are used:
- Session cookies only last for your online session and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser.
- Persistent cookies stay on your computer or device after the browser has been closed and last for the period of time specified in the cookie. These persistent cookies are activated each time you visit the site where the cookie was generated.
WHICH COOKIES DOES THIS SITE USE AND WHY?
When you use our Digital Products and Services, the following 4 categories of cookies may be set on your device:
1. ‘Strictly necessary' cookies
These cookies are essential in helping you to move around our websites and use their features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services you have asked for cannot be provided. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you've been on the internet.
Some examples of these essential cookies include:
- Remembering previous actions (such as text you've entered in a registration form) when navigating back to a page in the same session.
- Identifying you as being signed in to this site and our other websites and keeping you logged in throughout your visit so that you don't need to sign in each and every time you visit.
2. Functional cookies
These cookies allow websites and applications to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymised which means we can't identify you personally. They do not gather any information about you that could be used for selling advertising or remembering where you've been on the internet, but do help with serving advertising.
We use these types of cookies to improve your experience on our Digital Products and Services. Some examples of how we do this include:
- Remembering your preferences and settings. This might include playlists, favourites or specific settings that you have chosen for the layout, text size and colours used on a website.
- Remembering if we've already asked you if you want to fill in a survey or if you've completed a survey, so you're not asked to do it again.
- Remembering if you've been to the site before so that messages intended for first-time users are not displayed to you.
- Remembering when you've voted in a poll or rated a product or article so that you don't do this more than once during your visit.
- Restricting the number of times you're shown a particular page. This is sometimes called 'frequency capping'.
- Supporting social media components, like Facebook or Twitter (where a website uses a plugin from these third party platforms, for example).
If you would like a list of the functional cookies used by this site or have any further questions, you can use the form on our 'Contact Us' page which can be found here -
3. Analytics cookies
In order to keep this site's Digital Products and Services relevant, easy to use and up-to-date, we may use web analytics services to help us understand how people use them. For example, we can see which parts of the Digital Products and Services are most popular, identify when errors occur, and test different versions of a page or feature to see which one works best.
These web analytics services may be designed and operated by other companies on our behalf. They do this using small invisible images known as "web beacons" or "tracking pixels" that may be included in the Digital Products and Services. These are used to count the number of times something has been seen. These web beacons are anonymous and do not contain or collect any information that identifies you.
Cookies allow web analytics services to recognise your browser or device and, for example, identify whether you have visited our Digital Products and Services before, what you have previously viewed or clicked on, and how you found us. The information is anonymous and only used for statistical purposes. It allows us to monitor information, such as how many individual users we have and how often they visit our websites. It also helps us to analyse patterns of user activity and to develop a better user experience. For example, we might see that many people who viewed Page A also viewed Page B and we can then recommend Page B to everyone else who viewed Page A.
4. Other third party cookies
Please note that on some pages of our websites you may notice that cookies have been set that are not related to this site or our authorised service providers. When you visit a page with content embedded from, for example, YouTube or Facebook, these service providers may set their own cookies on your web browser. These anonymous cookies may be set by that third party to track the success of their application or to customise their application to you. This site does not control the use of these cookies and cannot access them due to the way that cookies work, as cookies can only be accessed by the party who originally set them. You should check the third party websites for more information about these cookies.
http://www.quantcast.com/how-we-do-it/consumer-choice/opt-out/ (opens in a new window)
HOW TO CONTROL YOUR COOKIES
However, there are various ways that you can control and manage your cookies which are discussed in a bit more detail below. Please remember that any settings you change will not just affect our cookies. These changes will apply to all websites that you visit (unless you choose to block cookies from particular sites).
Managing cookies in your browser
Most modern browsers will allow you to:
- See what cookies you've got and delete them on an individual basis.
- Block third party cookies.
- Block cookies from particular sites.
- Block all cookies from being set.
- Delete all cookies when you close your browser.
You should be aware that any preferences will be lost if you delete cookies. Ironically, this includes where you have opted out from cookies, as this requires an opt-out cookie to be set. Also, if you block cookies completely many websites will not work properly and some functionality on these websites will not work at all. We do not recommend turning cookies off when using our Digital Products and Services for these reasons.
If you are primarily concerned about third party cookies generated by advertisers, you can turn these off separately. This is discussed in more detail below.
For instructions please visit the 'Help' sections for each of the major browsers so that you can find out more about how to manage your cookies.