A cookie is a piece of data sent to your device from a website. This means the website can recognise your device if you return to the same website. Cookies do not contain any personal information about you and cannot be used to identify an individual user. A cookie often includes a unique identifier, which is an anonymous number (randomly generated) and is stored on your device. Some expire at the end of your website session; others remain on your computer for longer.
These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:
- enabling a service to recognise your device so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task, e.g. filling out a web form or a web survey
- recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page
- measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast
- analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with the different aspects of our online services so we can make them better
You can manage these small files and learn more about them from this article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them.
For more information about cookies or if you would like to learn how to remove cookies set on your device, visit: http://www.aboutcookies.org
Purpose: Web Analytics/metrics. This category comprises cookies used to evaluate site performance in terms of number of visits, unique visitors, drop-off rate for transactions etc. We measure numbers and volumes of visitors to different parts of our site and this helps us ensure the service is fast and available when you want it. It also helps us ensure that different pages on our site are useful and easy to find.
Benefit: So service is available when you want it and fast.
Google analytics cookie information: http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/concepts/gaConceptsCookies.html