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Cookies

FAQ: Question(s)

Does this site use "cookies" and, if so, why and how?

FAQ: Answer(s)

The short answer is . . .

Yes, like most modern websites, this website does use cookies.

If you just want to view the text and images published on this website in English, you do NOT need to have cookies enabled in your browser's settings. However, you MUST enable first-party cookies if you want to use the Google Translate service.

What are 'Cookies'?

Cookies are small text files that store information on the user's computer when websites are accessed via a web-browser.

What is this website's policy regarding the use of cookies?

The owner of this website has adopted and implemented the following key principles regarding the use of cookies:

  • This website uses first-party cookies to provide core functionality, to improve the user experience and to help the owner manage the site and improve its content. (First-party cookies are the cookies set, controlled by and associated with this website.)

  • This website NEVER uses third-party cookies. (As the name suggests, third-party cookies are asociated with other websites.)
  • This website does NOT use cookies (or anything else) to target advertising or other sponsored content at specific users or groups of users.
  • This website does NOT display advertisements or other forms of content hosted on third-party websites with the exception of the flags etc. contained in the Google Translate widget.
  • This website does NOT use 'Flash cookies' or other forms of 'Locally Shared Object' (sometimes referred to as 'super-cookies' or 'browser independent cookies').
  • This website does NOT use 'web beacons', 'clear GIFs' or 'web bugs' to track user behaviour.

Do I need to enable cookies to use this website?

No. However, if first-party cookies are disabled, some webpages, images and other content may not display or otherwise work correctly on your device / in your browser. Most notably, you will NOT be able to use the Google Translate service (to translate the site from English into another language).

The following 'first-party' cookies may be set by this website

Cookie name
Affected
feature(s) / page(s)
Reason for use

googtrans

  • All pages

This cookie is used to personalise this website by storing the user's preferred language. It is only set if the Google Translate widget (located near the bottom of each page) is used to translate the site from English into a different language.

This cookie records two pieces of data using internationally recognised two-character country codes: the base language of the site (en = English), followed by the language selected by the user - i.e. the language into which the site is currently being translated (e.g. de = German or it = Italian). The information is stored in the form /en/de. If the site is not currently being translated, the cookie is not set. If the site is currently being translated, the cookie is set and it will expire when the user turns off the translation service (by resetting the language to English) or at end of the current browser session.

has_js

  • All pages

When this website is first accessed, the system checks to see if the user's browser has been configured to use the JavaScript (js) programming language and, if it has, the system sets this cookie. JavaScript is used in a variety of ways to improve the efficiency and functionality of websites. This site can - and will - offer a better user experience if JavaScript is enabled. (The 'JavaScript' FAQ explains how and why this website uses JavaScript.)

For most browsers, this cookie is automatically deleted when the current browser session ends.

SESS*

  • Favourites
  • User log-in (until log-out)

This cookie contains a randomly generated session identifier that is unique to the current user and the current browsing session. It is set whenever something needs to be 'remembered' from one page to another for an anonymous user.

This cookie is also set and used when a user logs-in, so that the user's identity and 'logged-in' status can be 'remembered' and used to grant access to a personalised or otherwise restricted area of the website.

In most browsers, this cookie is automatically deleted when the current browser session ends.

session_api_session

  • Favourites

This cookie contains a randomly generated session identifier that is unique to the current user and the current browsing session. It is set whenever something needs to be 'remembered' from one page to another for an anonymous user.

This cookie is deleted 55 hours after it was last used or when the browser cache is cleared.

_ga

_gid

_gat

  • All pages

Like many websites these days, this website uses the Google Analytics service to gather and review anonymised information about when and how the site is used in order to assess:

  • the popularity and usability of this website's content;
  • the effectiveness of this website in retaining the interest of site visitors;
  • the effectiveness of this website's promotions and advertisements; and
  • the effectiveness of this website in attracting return visits.

The Google Analytics service for this website has been configured to use the analytics.js JavaScript library. This uses first-party cookies to store non-personally identifiable information. These first-party cookies are NOT shared across domains. According the "Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites" webpage when viewed on July 13th, 2017 (see external links below):

  • The following first-party cookies MAY be set to facilitate this version of the Google Analytics service:

    • _ga (which has an expiry time of 2 years and is used to distinguish users)
    • _gid (which has an expiry time of 24 hours and is used to distinguish users)
    • _gat (which has an expiry time of 1 minute and is used to throttle the request rate)
  • The information stored in these cookies consists of "an identifier made up of two randomly generated 32-bit numbers (e.g., 12345.67890)".
  • The Google Analytics service is not sent (and does not store) any personal information about the users of this website.

This website began using the Google Analytics service at 16:30 hours (BST) on July 13th, 2017.

_pk_cvar*

_pk_id*

_pk_ref*

_pk_ses*

  • All pages

Prior to 13:00 hours (BST) on July 9th, 2017, this website used the Piwik open-source website analytics software which set tracking cookies to gather information about when and how the site was being accessed and used. All such cookies began with _pk (see left-hand column and note 1 below).

  • _pk_ses* and _pk_cvar* are short-term (or 'session') cookies. They were normally set to expire after half an hour and they were used (in an anonymised manner) to:
    • assess the popularity and usability of this website's content and to
    • assess the effectiveness of this website in retaining the interest of site visitors.
  • _pk_id* and _pk_ref* are long-term (or 'persistent') cookies. They were normally set with expiry periods of up to 6 months and they were used (in an anonymised manner) to
    • assess the effectiveness of this website's promotions and advertisements and to
    • assess the effectiveness of this website in attracting return visits.

These cookies are no longer being set. However, if you visted this website before the date and time given above, the long-term cookies (_pk_id* and _pk_ref*) may already have been set on your computer.

Note 1: The Piwik software was installed on the same server as this website's core content. The analytics data generated by the Piwik software was likewise stored on this website's server. The analytics data was NOT made available to the Piwik organisation. The Piwik software was configured to use server-side IP anonymisation to anonymise the last two bytes of visitors' IP addresses BEFORE the IP addresses were stored. The raw analytics data was aggregated and summarised to provide daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual statistics and other reports essential to the management and development of this website. All such data has now been deleted from the server.

Related pages / further reading

For full details of the information that may be obtained and recorded while using this website, plus details of how that information will be stored and used, please refer to the 'Privacy Policy'.

For further information and / or background reading regarding any of the following, please expand the 'External Links' section below and use the links provided:

  • General background reading on the subject of cookies and related technologies.
  • Cookies and privacy information relating to the PayPal service.
  • A brief introduction to the Google Translate and Google Analytics services.