Cookies and the law
We are also committed to helping users of this site to understand what cookies are, and how it affects them and their privacy, so that they can make better make decisions about how they want to use the site. If you want more general information about cookies, have a look at the advice from the ICO.
What is a cookie?
A cookie is essentially a tracking code which a website places on your computer so it can identify your computer. A cookie does not normally contain any private information — it is a random string of characters. A cookie can only be accessed by you or the website that originally created it.
What are cookies for?
Cookies are a normal and essential part of how the internet works. Your computer cannot make a persistent connection to a website. Each time you view a page on a website, a new connection needs to be made again from scratch. Cookies are needed so that the website can remember your computer each time this connection is made. They are essential for any kind of interactive website or web application.
On this site, cookies are needed for the online application form. You must have cookies enabled in your browser for the form to work correctly.
- remembering user preferences, such as the display size of text on the site
- collecting statistical data about how the site is used
Should I be worried about cookies?
Cookies are not inherently good or bad — they can be used for both good purposes and bad purposes. A lot of people are worried about their privacy on the internet, and they are right to be concerned about the potential of cookies for malicious use. However, you should bear in mind that —
Cookies are not the only way to identify a computer on the internet
Your computer can also be identified, for example, by your IP address, or by the type of browser you are using (using your user agent), or (more likely) by a combination of techniques. If you were only to disable cookies on your computer, a website could still identify you or try to identity you.
For any kind of true anonymity you would have to use the private browsing or incognito browsing mode in your browser, disable all the plug-ins in your browser, and use an anonymity network.
You cannot be identified personally by a cookie alone
A cookie can only be used to personally identify you in conjunction with other ways of identifying you. Normally, a website can only identify you personally if you have at some point given the website your personal information.
In general, third-party cookies impinge far more on your privacy
A cookie can only be accessed by the website that originally created it. That means that a website cannot use a cookie to track you outside their own website. Third-party cookies (as discussed below) get round this restriction — they can track you across the internet, meaning that the third-party has access to far more information about you.
You allow yourself to be tracked by Facebook and Google if you browse the internet while logged in
If you browse the internet while logged in to any Facebook service, or any Google service (such as Google Plus or Gmail), and you visit a website with a (Facebook) “Like” button or (Google) “+1” button, then Facebook / Google will be able to see who you are, and will know that you have visited our site — and in fact they will be able to see which pages you have visited and when.
In effect, if you log in to Facebook or Google while browsing the internet, it is no different from a third-party cookie, except that the cookie would have been originally set as a cookie while you were on one of Facebook or Google’s own websites.
If you use a Facebook or Google service (such as the Google search engine) without being logged in to that service, then they will not know who you are if you then visit our site (during the same browsing session). However, if you then log in to a Facebook or Google service after visiting our site (and during the same browsing session), then they will be able to collate your browsing history and identity which pages you have (previously) visited on our site.
Third-party cookies are cookies which are set by a different website from the one you are currently using. A third-party cookie can be set any time a website puts third-party content on one of their pages, such as an image or a video, advertising, or statistical analysis software.
Many people are concerned about third-party cookies because they can be used to track which websites you visit. It is possible to substantially reduce the effectiveness of third-party cookies — without adversely affecting your experience of the internet — by adjusting the settings in your browser.
Deed Poll Office makes no use of third-party cookies on this site.
Flash cookies (or local shared objects) are very similar to ordinary cookies, except that:
- they are only used on pages which contain Flash objects, such as videos or banner advertisements (although pages can contain hidden Flash objects)
- each Flash cookie can be accessed by all the browsers on your computer — that is, by Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and so on. (Ordinary cookies are specific to the browser where they were set.)
- they are less well known about and they are generally more persistent and more difficult to remove
Deed Poll Office makes no use of Flash cookies on this site.
What cookies are set by this site
This site sets session cookies, which expire (and get destroyed) when you close your browser. These cookies are set only when:
- you use the application form — in which case we do not need to obtain your explicit consent because the cookie would be classed as strictly necessary for the functioning of the form, under regulation
6(4)(b)of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations
- you set a user preference on the site
We also use live chat software (Zendesk Chat, formerly Zopim), which uses 2 cookies (__zlcmid, __zprivacy) to provide an online, text-message-based customer service helpdesk. These cookies are not third-party cookies, and they are not accessible to any website other than this site, or Zendesk.
We do not set any third-party cookies, Flash cookies or use any other similar technology to track your usage of the site, other than the cookies listed above.
Therefore, if you visit another website which also has Google Analytics or Zendesk Chat installed, Google or Zendesk will not be able to see that it is the same device that you used on our website (although they may infer, rightly or wrongly, that it is the same device, by using your IP address and user agent).
Concurrent usage of Facebook or Google services
Our site uses a Facebook “Like” button and a Google “+1” button.
Although these buttons do not set cookies on their own, if you are concurrently logged in to a Facebook service, or a Google service (such as Google Plus or Gmail), then these websites will be able to see who you are and that you have visited our site, and they will be able to see which pages you have visited.
If this is not what you want, we recommend you log out of all Facebook and Google services and delete all your cookies beforehand, or that you start an “incognito-mode” session in your web browser (without logging in again to Facebook or Google services inside that session of course).