What is a cookie?
A cookie is a very simple text file that gets downloaded onto your PC when you visit a website. They generally contain two bits of information: a site name and a unique user ID. Once the cookie is on your computer, the site "knows" that you have been there before and can then use that knowledge to tailor the experience that you have. The vast majority of commercial websites -- be they major online publishers, banks or ecommerce sites -- will use them.
What are they used for?
Cookies are used for many different functions including auto-filling forms, counting visitors, storing shopping basket items, personalising content, targeting advertising, recording user preferences and for authentication and security.
These monitor how visitors move around the Website and how they reached it. This is used so that we can see total (not individual) figures on which types of content users enjoy most, for instance.
You can opt out of these if you want: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout
Third-party service cookies
Social sharing, video and other services we offer are run by other companies. These companies may drop cookies on your computer when you use them on our site or if you are already logged in to them.
Site management cookies
These are used to maintain your identity or session on the Website. For instance, where our websites run on more than one server, we use a cookie to ensure that you are sent information by one specific server (otherwise you may log in or out unexpectedly). We may use similar cookies when you vote in opinion polls to ensure that you can only vote once, and to ensure that you can use our commenting functionality when not logged in (to ensure you don't see comments you've reported as abusive, for instance, or don't vote comments up/down more than once).
These cookies cannot be turned off individually but you could change your browser setting to refuse all cookies (see above) if you do not wish to accept them.