What are cookies?
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things, e.g. remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website.
The rules on cookies are covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR). PECR also covers the use of similar technologies for storing or accessing information, such as ‘Flash cookies’ and device fingerprinting.
The ICO is responsible for enforcing these rules.
How do the cookie regulations affect me?
You may come across information about cookies and similar technologies on websites and be given choices about how some cookies are used. This might include, for example, being asked to agree to a cookie being used for a particular service, such as remembering your preferences on a site.
Please note you have the ability to disable and change your cookie consent at any time
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.
You can prevent the setting of cookies by adjusting the settings on your browser (see your browser Help for how to do this). Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit. Disabling cookies will usually result in also disabling certain functionality and features of this site. Therefore it is recommended that you do not disable cookies.
General cookie information for website users
This is what the law requires:
a person shall not store or gain access to information stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user unless the requirements of paragraph (2) are met.
(2) The requirements are that the subscriber or user of that terminal equipment-
(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent.
Regulation 6 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR)