What is a cookie?
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.
How do cookies work?
A website's cookies store information on your user device, which then gets sent back to that website each time you visit. Sometimes this information is essential to access a website's functions - for example if you need to log in, a cookie will allow the website to recognise your log-in details.
Cookies can also be used to build a profile of your activity on a website - which pages you visit, how long you spend on each page. A website may then use this information to tailor the pages that you see when you visit the site in the future.
Can I control or delete cookies?
All recent versions of popular browsers (such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) allow you to control cookies. You can set your browser to accept or reject all, or certain cookies. You might, for example, be happy to accept a cookie that allows you to log in to a website, but prefer to reject any which are used to build a profile of your internet usage. You can also set your browser to prompt you each time a cookie is offered.
For more information, you may wish to visit <www.aboutcookies.org> which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your computer as well as more general information about cookies. For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.