Current EU law requires a run down of how cookies are used by web-sites in the EU. Although the service I use hosts from the USA (I think), I am not so I figured I’d better catch up and do as I ought.
Cookies are little bits of software that track you and your Internet usage. They can be used to gather all sorts of information and form the basis of target online marketing (amongst other things). On this site, they’re only benign little critters that help me to work out what things are working and how the site can be improved.
- This site uses WordPress [External Link]. The WordPress software keeps some very basic information for the comments – your name, email and URL. It can remember these things in order to allow multiple comment posts. Anyone who has not posted before will find their comment takes a while to get through as I have to authorise new posters – which I do based on how “real” the data supplied appears to be.
- I use a floating widget (tab to the right) so that visitors can share individual pages and posts on various social media. The plug-in I use is called Slick Social Share Buttons [External Link]. This uses enough information to tell the social media site in question which page / post you’re on.
- I also use the standard version of Google Analytics [External Link] to gather some very basic information about where people are from (the data is given as a “nearest city / town” in the finest detail), what brought them to my site (e.g. search terms, links on a given site, etc), what pages have been read (to encourage me to stick to a subject, not that it works), what browsers have been used (so I can make sure I design the site to work on it, or tweak accordingly if I know there are issues) and what operating system (ditto) – along with a few other bits and pieces. I recommend going and having a look at the site to see what kind of information is available but I would like point out that everything I see is anonymous.
- Rather ironically, my Cookie Notice plug-in uses a cookie to tell whether you’ve been here before and agreed to cookie usage. If you tell it you don’t agree, you should be asked every time as there will be no cookie stored.
- Last but not least, I’m signed up for Flattr [External Link] and have the buttons on my on-site fiction pages. As with the social shares, this will use enough information to tell Flattr what page / post you’re on when you press the button.