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The 1-Minute Guide
Interested in this issue but short of time? Here’s what we think you need to know:
- We use both our own (first-party) and partner companies’ (third-party) cookies to support these activities
- We DO NOT store personal information in cookies
More Detailed Information
When did the law change and who enforces it?
The original EU legislation that became known as the “E-Privacy Directive“ was published in 2003 and implemented as European Directive – 2002/58/EC. It was concerned quite widely with the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. In 2009 the Directive was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC that included a requirement to seek consent for cookies and similar technologies. The EU Directive entered UK law on 26th May 2011 as “The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011”. It is regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) www.ico.gov.ukwhich is also the organisation charged with enforcement of this legislation.
What are cookies?
Cookies are text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your device when you visit a site. Cookies are then sent back to the originating site on each subsequent visit, or to another site that recognises that cookie. Cookies are useful because they allow a site to recognise a user’s device. You can find more information about cookies at: www.allaboutcookies.org and www.youronlinechoices.eu.
Cookies do lots of different jobs, like letting you navigate between pages efficiently, remembering your preferences, and generally improving the user experience. They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
The cookies used on this site have been categorised based on the categories found in the ICC UK Cookie guide. We use four types of cookies on these sites:
- Strictly necessary cookies
- Performance cookies
- Functionality cookies
- Targeting and Advertising cookies
Why are cookies used?
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 users’ 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 a 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 or notification?
If you ignore the question or the notification, the websites 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).