European Union legislation requires us to inform you of our usage of so-called Cookies.
The basics are:
A cookie file is used by a website to send "state information" to a Users' 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 can not 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 law makers 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 tis made to try to identify them in person.
The new legislation now states that Users must be able to opt-out from having cookies stored on their computer.
The original EU legislation that became known as the "E-Privacy Directive" was published in 2003 and implemented as European Directive 2002/58/EC. Try not to fall asleep! 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.uk who decided that enforcement would commence from 26th May 2012.
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 including using online forms or any feature that requires login. We use a cookie to remember your choice or preferences. This has a couple of consequences:
If you ignore the question, the website 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 ICO.
Strictly Necessary cookies let you move around the website and use essential features like secure areas and online billing. These cookies don't gather any information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you've been on the internet.
Performance cookies collect information about how you use our website, for example, which pages you visit, and if you experience any errors. These cookies don't collect any information that could identify you - all the information is anonymous and is only used to help us improve how our website works. This includes Google Analytics.
Functionality cookies are used to provide services or to remember settings to improve your visit.
Targeting cookies are linked to services provided by third parties, such as "Like" buttons and "Share" buttons. The third party often provides these services in return for recognising that you have visited our website.