What is a cookie?A cookie, also known as a browser cookie, is a text file containing small amounts of information which a server may download to your computer, mobile or tablet when you visit a website or use an app.
There are different types of cookies which are used to do different things, such as letting you navigate between different pages on a website efficiently, remembering preferences you have given and helping us to identify ways to improve your overall site experience. Others are used to measure the number of site visits and the most popular pages users visit.
There are two different types of browser cookie:(1) Session cookies are stored in the computer's memory during a user's browsing session and are automatically deleted from the user's computer when the browser is closed or the session is deemed to have ended.
These cookies usually store a session ID that is not personally identifiable to users, allowing the user to move from page to page without having to log-in repeatedly. They are widely used by commercial web sites; for example to keep track of items that a consumer has added to a shopping basket.
Session cookies do not collect any information from the user's computer and they expire at the end of the user's browser session. They can also become inaccessible after the session has been inactive for a specified length of time, usually 20 or 30 minutes.
(2) Persistent cookies are stored on the user's computer and are not deleted when the browser is closed. Persistent cookies can be used to retain user preferences for a particular website, allowing those preferences to be used in future browsing sessions.
Persistent cookies usually assign a unique ID to the user’s browser and they are usually configured to identify a user for a prolonged period of time, from days to months or even years.
If you do not wish the website to set cookies on your device then you should either not use the site, or you should browse the site using your browser’s anonymous usage setting (called “Incognito” in Chrome, “InPrivate” in Internet Explorer, "Private Browsing" in Firefox and Safari)]. This will mean that the site will continue to drop cookies and your visit to the site will be as normal. Once you leave the site, all cookies dropped will be destroyed.
A guide to behavioural advertising and online privacy has been produced by the Internet advertising industry which can be found at www.youronlinechoices.eu. The guide contains an explanation of the IAB's self-regulatory scheme to allow you greater control of the advertising you see.