Understanding what cookies are
You can only make an informed decision about whether you want to accept cookies or not if you understand what they are.
A cookie is a small text file placed on your computer, smartphone or other device when you visit a website. The cookie allows the website owner to store a small piece of information on your computer and then refer back to it, perhaps several times during your visit – or the next time you visit.
An example of using cookies would be in conjunction with site statistics. When you visit our website, our system places a cookie in order to enable us to count the different people who visit, which pages they use and how they move about the site.
Cookies are stored on your computer or smartphone – this means you have control and can delete them if you wish to. We do not keep a copy of cookies we place on your computer, and we cannot identify you personally from them.
It is worth remembering that only the web service which sets a particular cookie can then read it at a later date. So the cookies set as a result of you filling in that form, could not be read by, say, the BBC News website or Google.
If you are a contributor to our websites, and have logged-in to the administration part of the site, you will have received cookies from us. These perform two main functions: They prevent you having to log-in each time you visit a different page; and, if you allow it, prevent you having to re-enter your username and password each time you visit the site.
If you would prefer not to receive cookies, there are instruction on disabling cookies for most web browsers available here.