Websites today normally offer some level of interaction – whether it’s sending and receiving messages, buying goods or choosing how you wish to view the site. To manage this, small text files called cookies are stored on your computer
Cookies are an important part of the internet. They make using websites much smoother and affect lots of the useful features of websites. There are many different uses for cookies, but they fall into four main groups:
Some cookies are essential so you can move around the website and use its features. Without these cookies, services you’ve asked for can’t be provided. These cookies don’t gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you’ve been on the internet.
Here are some examples of essential cookies:
Some cookies allow the website to remember choices you make, such as your language or region and they provide improved features.
Here are a few examples of just some of the ways that cookies are used to improve your experience on our websites:
We like to keep track of what pages and links are popular and which ones don’t get used so much to help us keep our sites relevant and up to date. It’s also very useful to be able to identify trends of how people navigate (find their way through) our sites and if they get ‘error messages’ from web pages.
This group of cookies, often called ‘analytics cookies’ are used to gather this information. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies you. The information collected is anonymous and is grouped with the information from everyone else’s cookies. We can then see the overall patterns of usage rather than any one person’s activity. Analytics cookies only record activity on the site you are on and they are only used to improve how a website works.
Some of our websites and some of the emails you might get from us also contain small invisible images known as ‘web beacons’ or ‘tracking pixels’. These are used to count the number of times the page or email has been viewed and allows us to measure the effectiveness of its marketing and emails. These web beacons are anonymous and don’t contain or collect any information that identifies you.
We also use ‘affiliate’ cookies. Some of our web pages will contain promotional links to other companies’ sites. If you follow one of these links and then register with or buy something from that other site, a cookie is sometimes used to tell that other site that you came from one of our sites. That other site may then pay us a small amount for the successful referral. This works using a cookie.
How can I see and manage my cookies in my browser?
Virtually all modern browsers allow you to see what cookies you’ve got, and to delete them individually or delete all of them. To find out how to do this visit aboutcookies.org, which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.