Why you need to know more about Cookies now
On the 26th May 2012 a new privacy legislation from the EU was put into force within the UK surrounding cookies from websites and how they are used.
What is a Cookie?
A cookie is a small file, which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
What is the new legislation all about?
Principally the new ‘Cookie Law’ is there to protect website users by letting them know what cookies are being downloaded from the website and how the user can identify and choose to change the cookie settings within the chosen browser.
What types of cookies are there?
Cookies come in various categories from ‘low compliance risk’ - first-party cookies, which are strictly necessary to the basic function of the site, all the way up to ‘high compliance risk’ - third party and persistent cookies which track user interests. It’s these third party ones that the new legislation is really aimed at making totally transparent for the user community.
First party cookies
First party cookies are set by the website you are visiting and they can only be read by that site.
Third party cookies
Third party cookies are set by a different organisation to the owner of the website you are visiting. For example, the website might use a third party analytics company who will set their own cookie to perform this service. The website you are visiting may also contain content, embedded from for example YouTube or Flickr, and these sites may set their own cookies.
More significantly, a website might use a third party advertising network to deliver targeted advertising on their website. These may also have the capability to track your browsing across different sites.
Session cookies are stored only temporarily during a browsing session and are deleted from the user’s device when the browser is closed.
This type of cookie is saved on your computer for a fixed period (usually a year or longer) and is not deleted when the browser is closed. Persistent cookies are used where we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use this type of cookie to store your preferences, so that they are remembered for the next visit.
Many websites use Adobe Flash Player to deliver content to their users. Adobe utilise their own cookies, which are not manageable through your browser settings but are used by the Flash Player for similar purposes, such as storing preferences or tracking users.
Flash cookies work in a different way compared to web browser cookies (the cookie types listed above are all set via your browser); rather than having individual cookies for particular jobs, a website is restricted to storing all data in one cookie. You can control how much data can be stored in that cookie but you cannot choose what type of information is allowed to be stored.
What cookies does the Renown website save to your computer?
_utmz = stores where a visitor came from (search engine, search keyword, link)
_utmc &_utmb = used to check approximately how long you stay on a site: when a visit starts, and approximately ends
_utma = stores each user's amount of visits, and the time of the first visit, the previous visit, and the current visit (presumably partly for double checking of this information).
These are all first party analytical cookies and hold no intrinsic personal information
zenid = this is a session cookie used for the dynamic content of the site for exsample the ecommerce side of the site
msg-shown and cookie test = this cookie is for the cookie legislation complience of this site and to record your acceptance of the cookies
For more information please visit the ICO website for full details of the new legislation