What are cookies?
A cookie is a tiny text file that contains some information that may be passed back and forth between your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) and a computer running a website (typically the site that set the cookie). It does not contain any code and cannot do anything. Most websites set them and many cannot function properly without them. Typically they just contain an identifier so that the server knows that it has seen this visitor before. This means, for example, that someone can log in to a website and stay logged in, they can set their preferences or not be repeatedly shown the same information.
Two major kinds of cookies are:
- First Party Cookies – set by the website which is showing in your browser’s address bar
- Third Party Cookies – these are set by other sites
If any content from somewhere else (such as a YouTube video or an advert) has been embedded into another page, that third-party content might set a cookie of its own. Browsers know the difference between first- and third-party cookies and let you treat them differently.
Cookies also vary in their duration. “Session cookies” last only for the length of your visit, whilst others might last for days or months so that a site will recognise you next time you visit.
Read more at http://www.allaboutcookies.org/
What do they mean for me?
On our websites, cookies mean a better experience, including enabling a number of functions that would otherwise not be possible.
The web has no built-in way of remembering what you’ve done, which is good and bad. It’s good because it can make it more robust and functional, and it can make it more private. It’s bad because we need other ways to remember what just happened, for instance if you have visited the website before. Cookies are a core part of the answer to this problem because they let things that happen on one page be connected to things that happen on another page – they give websites some sort of memory to make sense of your visit.
What this means for you is that cookies can be used to associate you with your actions. They don’t by themselves know who you are because a cookie is only tied to a browser, but if you have told a website who you are that information could be put into a cookie, or held in a database and referred to by a cookie.
Like a piece of paper, a cookie could have all sorts of things written in it and so could be used for passing harmless information to harmless people, or not. If a website owner is of good faith then the cookies they set should not mean anything bad for you.
14-18 NOW undertakes to use first party cookies carefully and to be conscientious about the third-party services we incorporate into our site so that you can be confident about the cookies that they set. However whilst we have a high degree of control over the first-party cookies we set, third-party ones are by their nature less controllable by us. The only way for us to avoid third-party cookies, however, is not to use any third-party elements on our website
What cookies might be set on the 14-18 NOW website?
Our main website – www.1418NOW.org.uk – sets a number of first-party cookies. They are intended to improve the experience for visitors and to improve the performance of our web servers.
We also set some other cookies to understand how people arrived at our site and what they did when they got there. This data is anonymous and we cannot see what individuals do, only understand trends. We see this as vital for improving what we do for you, as well as being the basis for telling government and taxpayers how we are performing. We don’t put your name or personal information in any cookies.
On parts of our site we also use third-party services that can set their own cookies. They can, however, be controlled by using your browser settings to decline third-party cookies. Some third parties offer an opt-out mechanism. You can find out more about the cookies set by various services at www.cookiecert.com.