On 26th May 2012 the UK government brought in regulations that make it necessary for all websites within its jurisdiction to disclose to visitors what cookies they use and what they’re used for. This is to give visitors the option of accepting those cookies or not.
What are cookies?
The vast majority of cookies are completely harmless and will not interfere with your browsing experience (in fact they’re often designed to make things better).
Some cookies, however, can occasionally be used for nefarious purposes, such as collecting personally-identifiable information or for launching spyware. Decent Anti-virus or -malware software should pick these up, but people can understandably still be a bit wary about the whole thing.
If you really, really don’t want to receive any cookies at all you can easily disable or delete them in your browser (click on the ‘help’ option in your browser if you don’t know how to do this). If you do disable cookies, however, you’ll lose some of the functionality that many websites provide.
Please note that I’m not a lawyer and this very basic outline of what cookies do and what they’re for is a sincere attempt to comply with my own personal understanding of the recent UK legislation (uh-oh, I’m actually starting to talk like a lawyer!).
If you want more detailed information I recommend you visit the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) website, which is responsible for overseeing the compliance of all UK-based sites.
Thanks (and phew)!