A cookie is a small text file that is automatically sent to your device where it is stored by your web browser. The cookie stores a unique identifier (a string of random characters) so that your browser can be distinguished from others, and are often used to link your browser to databases that hold data about your usage and inferred interests, along with other data such as your IP address. They are used for various functions – from enabling the website to work, by recognising the same user as they navigate from one page to another; to analysing what content is viewed and is popular, through to personalising content based on browsing behaviour and interests.
Cookies may be stored by the website you are visiting (a “first party cookie”) or by a technology provider, such as an analytics company, advertising network or social media platform (a “third party cookie”). Third party cookies may be used to link your browsing behaviour across multiple sites. Cookies are either stored for the duration of your visit (a “session cookie”) or they will remain on your device for a fixed period (usually several months, or longer) to remember you across multiple browsing sessions (a “persistent cookie”).
Other types of storage, such as local or “HTML” storage
Many websites use local storage technologies that are similar to cookies but enable larger amounts of data to be stored. This means they can store information like your preferences and viewing history on your device rather than on their own systems.
Other tracking technologies, such as pixels
Websites and email communications may also use embedded code to record how you interact with them (recognising your browser via the unique ID stored in their cookie or your device “AdID”). They are often used to send data about your browsing to a third party, such as a social media company or advertiser to measure engagement with their content or to personalise ads or marketing.
Tracking via Apps
Cookies are used for the purposes described below. The specific cookies used by a service are listed and described in the cookie management platform for that service. This is presented to you when you first visit the website, when we periodically refresh the cookies used, and/or when we periodically ask you to review your preferences. You can also load the preference centre by clicking on “Cookie Settings”, usually found in the footer of the service.
Necessary: these are cookies that are technically necessary to enable the effective operation of the service. For example, to enable you to navigate the service, to remember your cookie preferences, to keep our service secure and for system administration, such as preventing fraudulent or disruptive activity. Without these cookies the service may not operate as it should and so these are not optional.
Functional: these cookies support functionality that improves your experience or provides features you have requested.