Interested in this issue but short of time? Here’s what we think you need to know:
We DO NOT store personal information in cookies
What are cookies?A cookie is used by a website to send ‘state information’ to a User’s browser and for the browser to return the state information to the website. The state information can be used for authentication, identification of a User session, User preferences, shopping cart contents, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data on the User’s computer.
Cookies cannot be programmed, cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer. However, they can be used to track user’s browsing activities which was a major privacy concern that prompted European and US lawmakers to take action.
Cookies are used by most websites for a variety of reasons – often very practical reasons to do with the operation of the website. However, they are also used to monitor how people are using the website (which pages are visited and how long is spent on each page). Each “visitor session” is tracked even though no effort is made to try to identify them in person.
The new legislation now states that you must be able to opt-out from having cookies stored on their computer.
What happens if you disable cookies (i.e. opt-out)?If you decide to disable cookies we record this so you don’t get asked the question again. You will find that most of the website works as expected although functions that rely on cookies are obviously disabled. These functions include using online forms (e.g. our enquiry form) or any feature that requires login. We use a cookie to remember your cookie preferences, this has a couple of consequences:
If you delete all your cookies you will have to tell us your preference again
If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preference again
What happens if you ignore the question?If you ignore the question the website will continue to set cookies as necessary. This approach of “implied opt-in” is specifically discussed and approved in the guidance notes issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (the organisation charged with enforcement of this legislation).