What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files stored on your computer, created by web sites to improve functionality (such as remembering your preferred language), ease of use (remembering that you have logged in for the duration of your visit, rather than requiring a password on each and every new page you visit) or other purposes.
Cookies cannot spread computer viruses or access the contents of your computer. However, they may contain personally identifiable information.
On the VSO websites we do not use any cookies containing any personal information (such as your name, email address, etc). Where cookies are used to identify you (when logging in), they do so with an automatically generated string of random letters and numbers (known as a session ID).
Our cookies fall into two main types: ‘strictly necessary’ cookies, without which we could not provide functionality directly requested by the user, and ‘performance cookies’, used to improve our site. Google Analytics, the cookies of the second category, does not collect personal information; rather, we look at aggregate data looking at how popular pages are, how long people spend on a page on average, and so forth, in order to target improvements to our site.
A more detailed breakdown of cookies created by VSO websites is provided below.
How to disable cookies
For information on how to change your browser’s cookie settings, please refer to http://aboutcookies.org.
These cookies are set by Google Analytics. Data from Google Analytics is used on an aggregate, rather than individual, level to improve our site (e.g. streamlining or signposting a user journey which shows high drop-off). They therefore count as “Performance cookies”. Further information on GA cookies can be found at: http://www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html
|__utma||Stores the amount of visits, the time of your first visit, the previous visit, and your current visit. It does not contain any personal information and is used only for analytical purposes. Expires in 2 years.|
|__utmb||This tracks a single session (30 minutes). It does not contain any personal information and is used only for analytical purposes.|
|__utmc||Used by an old version of Google Analytics but no longer set, this serves the same function as utmb, above.|
|__utmz||Stores where you came from (eg. search engine, search keyword, link). Expires in 6 months.|
Third party cookies
Where have content embedded from third-party sites (such as Facebook and Youtube), those sites may set their own cookies. The contents and lifespan of these cookies are not under our control. Please visit these sites for further information on their privacy and cookie policies, or visitaboutcookies.org for general information on controlling or disabling cookies.