What is a cookie and why we use them?
Cookies are small text files containing small amounts of information which are downloaded to your device when you visit a website. These cookies are then sent back to the website on each visit, or to another website that recognises that cookie.
Cookies are useful because as they allow a website to recognise a user, and remember their preferences, in some cases allowing the sites to tailor the content displayed to the user’s to match interests.
You can find more information about cookies on the ICO website.
Types of cookie
There are two broad types of cookies:
- First party cookies: these are cookies that are served directly by the website you are visiting to your computer and are often used to recognise the user when they revisit that site and to remember their preferences as you browse the site. Basically, these are our cookies.
- Third party cookies: these are installed by parties other than the owner of the website a user visits. We use third party cookies for functionality, performance/analytics, advertising and social media purposes.
In addition, cookies may be either 'session cookies' or 'persistent cookies'. Your computer automatically removes session cookies once you close your browser. Persistent cookies will survive on your computer until an expiry date, specified in the cookie itself, is reached. We use both session and persistent cookies.
Wherever it is practical to do so, we use anonymous cookies. These are cookies that allow us to understand how you use our website but without capturing any information that could be used to identify you – all we can tell is that ‘someone’ visited our site and visited a certain page(s), this is vital in helping us improve unpopular content, promote popular content and produce more of the content you like.
What categories of cookies do we use?
- Essential Website Cookies: these cookies are essential to provide you with the website and its services. Without these cookies, services such as donation pages or secure shop purchases would not be possible.
- Functionality Cookies: these cookies remember choices made by or attributes of the user and enhance the features and content you experience during your visit to our website, e.g. language, appeals visited or user’s location. This cookie is also used to remember a user's preferences for font size or customisable parts of a web page.
- Analytics and Performance Cookies: we use performance/analytics cookies to analyse how the website is accessed, used, or is performing in order to provide you with a better user experience and to maintain, operate and continually improve the website. These cookies do not collect information that identifies the user.
- Advertising and Tracking Cookies: these cookies collect information about the users' browsing habits. This may also include your use of social media sites, e.g. Facebook, etc. or how you interact with our website which then shows you relevant content elsewhere on the internet. NB. These may also be used to choose the advertisements that are displayed to you on our website and other websites.
- Social Media Cookies: on some pages of our website, third parties that provide applications through our website may set their own cookies in order to track the success of their applications or customise applications for you. Some pages of our website may also contain embedded content.
We may collect some, or all, of the information available from cookies when you visit our website, depending on how you use it. We monitor how people use our website, so we can improve it. We collect this information anonymously.
Although not through cookies, we do measure the success of the emails we send – so we know what subject lines and stories people liked the most. We receive this information anonymously; we do not and will never share this information.
How can I control my cookies?
You can use your web browser to:
- delete all cookies;
- block all cookies;
- allow all cookies;
- block ‘third-party’ cookies (ie, cookies set by online services other than the one you are visiting);
- clear all cookies when you close the browser;
- open a ‘private browsing’ / ‘incognito’ session, which allows you to browse the web without recording your browsing history or storing local data such as cookies (you should, however, be aware of the limitations of this feature in a privacy context); and
- install add-ons and plugins that extend browser functionality.
Where to find information about controlling cookies
- Microsoft Edge cookies information
- Internet Explorer cookies information
- Chrome cookies information
- Firefox cookies information
- Safari cookies information – mobile devices and desktops
- Opera cookies information