What are Cookies?
Cookies are small data files that are generated and transferred to your computer as you use web sites and interact with functional elements such as links, advertisements and forms. Cookies can originate from the ‘first-party’ which is normally the web site that is loaded in the browser or they can originate from ‘third-parties’ which are external services such as advertisements, affiliate links or widgets that may be embedded into the currently loaded web site.
The usage of cookies dates back to the middle of 1990’s and is a well established practice that facilitates many of the core functions of web usage such as user logins, shopping baskets and personalisation. In most cases cookies small encrypted strings of text that are not harmful and do not involve or use personal information in any way.
We recommend visiting All About Cookies if you would like to learn more about cookie technology.
Types of Cookies
- A session cookie enables functionality (such as tracking the contents of an online shopping cart) whilst using a web site and is typically deleted from your computer when you exit a web site.
- A persistent cookie remains after you exit a web site and close your browser and may be used by your browser on subsequent visits to a web site. Persistent cookies can be removed by following the help directions of your web browser (see the Useful Links Tab for further information).
- A local shared object (flash cookie) behaves in a similar fashion to a persistent cookie but is powered by Adobe Flash technology to create and retrieve the locally shared object on your computer (see the Useful Links Tab for further information).
Most Internet browsers automatically accept cookies. You can instruct your browser, by editing its options, to stop accepting cookies or to prompt you before accepting a cookie from the web sites you visit. Newer browsers also have options to inform web sites that you do not wish to be tracked.