Cookies

In the context of a web site, a cookie is a small text file that may be stored on your computer by the browser you are using when requested by the site that you are visiting. They are generally used to store information about the user’s visit to a site so that the next time that site is visited, the website can use that information to adapt the behaviour of the site to the individual. An example could be a news site that  allowed a user to select topics of interest such as “financial and not sports”, upon their next visit to the site, they would receive news items that match their preferences.

There is no restriction on the type of information that can be stored in a cookie so they could be used to store personal data, depending on the way a website is built. In some circumstances this can lead to an invasion of privacy, either by means of a third party website accessing cookies set by another site and reading their contents or by allowing advertisers to build up a detailed history of all the sites you visit so they can target adverts more precisely.

European law requires that sites using cookies  to provide information on what cookies are used by the site in question and to explicitly obtain permission from the site visitor to allow the use of cookies on that site. In other words, it is necessary to gain informed consent. This only applies to sites owned by businesses based in Europe.

Note that if you use more than one browser to access a website, each browser will store its own cookies in a different location on your computer that is linked to your browser. In other words, if you visit a site using Internet Explorer and answer a cookie permission question, and then visit the same site using Firefox, you will be asked the question again. Browsers do not share cookies.

The law allows exemptions for certain types of cookie that are deemed “strictly necessary” for the provision of the service provided by the website in question, an example of which is given on the Information Commissioner’s Office site: a cookie that stores the contents of a shopping basket and remembers the contents of that basket as the user navigates to another page in the same website. Without the shopping cart cookie, the site could not function, hence the “strictly necessary” tag.

Cookies on this site

There are no tracking cookies deployed by this site. Any cookies that may be deployed are used to support the normal functioning of the site and do not contain sensitive personal information. As such, they are considered to be those that are “strictly necessary” in the eyes of the EU law. This means that it is not necessary to explicitly seek the visitors permission for their use.

The following areas of the site may deploy various cookies:

  • The entire site is built using the WordPress blogging tool.  WordPress uses cookies to support site administration and user commenting functions. Comments are not enabled on this site and members of the public who visit the site do not have administrator rights, so will not see this type of cookie.
  • Pages that offer the Google translate feature. This facility deposits a session cookie that supports the translate feature. It stores the source and target languages, e.g. en/hi for English to Hindi.
  • Any embedded twitter widgets.  Twitter uses Google Analytics which are used for tracking, but not the collection of personal data.

 

If you’d like to see which cookies, if any, have been deposited by the this website, please follow this link: Site Cookies.

If you wish to block the use of cookies, you can use the tools that are built in to your browser to block all cookies, or to allow cookies from sites that you trust.