Cookies – what they are and how we use them
Cookies are small text files that our website and sometimes emails place in your computer to ensure that your experience of our offerings is as effective as possible. They remember any options you have chosen for example and your password or particular interests. They also enable us to track visitors’ usage of our site so that we can continuously improve it. There’s nothing mysterious about them and they do not collect personal data.
Like pretty much all website owners we have always operated cookies and you have had the benefit of using them. EU regulations now require us to inform you of what they are and give you the option to prohibit them if you wish.
We’re using the word ‘cookies’ here to include things like ‘web beacons’ and ‘Flash cookies’ which serve similar functions. ‘Your computer’ includes anything connected to the internet including laptops, office machines, tablets, mobile phones and so on.
Necessary – Without these our website will not function correctly.
Helpful – to us and to you. We monitor visitor activity on our website (without collecting any data on you) so that we can improve the site structure, page routing options and processing systems to help all visitors. These cookies also help us to guide you to pages likely to be of most interest to you.
Personal – for your benefit. These cookies remember your password and other preferences and can allow you to link onwards to watch a video or join in an online conversation.
On emails – We may use web beacons to check whether our emails are actually opened and whether any links in them are clicked on. That way we learn not to send you junk. If you choose plain text to download instead of HTML the web beacon is eliminated. And all our emails also give you a total opt-out procedure.
The above has been a simple introduction to cookies, what they are and why we use them. You can find out much more if you wish at http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_the_public/topic_specific_guides/online/cookies.aspx
Rather than listing data on all the cookies we use or may use in the future you will almost certainly find it quicker and easier to set your web browser to control cookie usage on all the sites you visit. The ICO site shown covers all the details of how to do this. Another really good one is www.allaboutcookies.org. If you have a very old browser you may need to bring it up to date to use effective cookie controls.