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What is a cookie?
Our cookies policy
Types of cookie
First-party cookies are set by the website you are visiting and they can only be read by that site.They can make your experience on the web more efficient by recording your browsing activities, such as what pages and content you’ve looked at, when you visited, what you searched for and whether you clicked on an ad.
Third-party cookies are set by a different organisation to the owner of the website you are visiting. This could be a company advertising on the site you’re visiting, for example, or a site that contains embedded content, such as Twitter or Facebook. Those websites may send you cookies and they control the setting of those cookies, not the site you are visiting.
Session cookies are stored temporarily during a browsing session and are deleted from the user’s device when the browser is closed.
This type of cookie is saved on your computer for a fixed period and is not deleted when the browser is closed. These cookies are used to save your preferences so that they persist when you return to the website.
Flash cookies work in a different way to web-browser cookies (first-party, third-party, session and persistent cookies are all set via your browser). Rather than having individual cookies for particular jobs, a flash website is restricted to storing all data in one cookie. You can control how much data can be stored in that cookie, but you cannot choose what type of information is allowed to be stored.
There are two types of website users: those who would like their visit to be as easy, quick and relevant as possible, and who (knowingly or unknowingly) therefore sit firmly in the cookie supporter camp; and then there are those who are discomforted by the idea that ‘Big Brother’ is watching them and would rather lose some of the functions cookies enable to remain more anonymous.
Different browsers have different ways of allowing you to enable or delete cookies, or limit the kinds of cookies that can be placed on your computer. When choosing your browser (ie, Google Chrome or Safari), you may want to consider which best suits your privacy preferences.
To check out the settings in a browser, use the ‘help’ tab or look under ‘tools’ for settings like ‘options’ or ‘privacy’. From there, you may be able to delete cookies, or control when they can be placed.
If you disable cookies you may limit your browsing experience. For example, you may need to enter information repeatedly, or you might not get personalised content or ads that are meaningful to you. However, most browsers’ settings will allow you to block third-party cookies without also disabling first-party cookies.