An EU Directive that takes effect in the UK from 26th May 2012 obliges us to give you information on all the cookies that are being used on the site.
Some people are suspicious of cookies because when a web site shows adverts directly from a third party web site (such as an advertising company like Doubleclick, owned by Google) that third party site can place their own cookie in your browser to assign a unique identifying number to you (although you are still anonymous to the website). Then when you visit another web site, even days later, that also has adverts on it from the same third party site they can get their cookie back again and look up their record of what adverts you clicked on in the past so it can show more relevant adverts that you may be interested in. This can be unnerving because it makes you feel that you are being tracked when really it is just trying to be more efficient about what adverts are shown to you. Even sites that try to help you by saving settings in cookies so that the site looks the same when you revisit can make people feel that they are being watched.
We use the Google Analytics services to help us calculate the number of visitors to the website and to analyse how the site is accessed. It helps us see what articles are the most popular, what search engine keywords are used to find the pages, helps us optimise the site and also enables us to detect if there are any broken links. It is estimated that about 28% of websites use Google Analytics. This services sets four cookies as follows:
|__utma||(Expires: 2 years)|
|__utmb||(Expires: when user exits browser)|
|__utmc||(Expires: when user exits browser)|
|__utmz||(Expires: 6 months)|
You can find detailed information about how Google uses these cookies from:
You can find out more general information about cookies and how to manage them on the UK Government site: