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, eg 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. The Regulations also cover similar technologies for storing information, eg Flash cookies. The Regulations were revised in 2011, and the ICO is responsible for enforcing these rules.
How do the cookie regulations affect me?
You may come across information about cookies 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.
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;
- clear all cookies when you close the browser;
- open a ‘private browsing’ / ‘incognito’ session, which allows you to browse the internet without storing local data; and
- install add-ons and plug-ins to extend browser functionality.