About Cookies

A note about GoStats

Cookie Usage and Privacy

As I cannot use server-based scripts and have no access to server logs, I use the services of GoStats to discover which pages on this site attract visitors.

The pages on this website contain links to GoStats, by means of an images at the bottom of the page and a javascript link. Either of these will send a HTTP header to the respective website containing the information that is sent to all websites that serve you with information. This header contains information that is also stored on my ISP's server logs, to which I have no access.

I have no control over the GoStats servers, which are located in the USA. No pages on this website rely upon cookies and when visiting this site you may deny all cookies without reducing your experience of this site. GoStats seem to use the cookie to report the difference between new and returning visitors.

Firefox browser users may find that the add-on Addblock Plus with the Easylist subscription will block GoStats and many other cookies. Users of Chrome-based browsers can also use the U-Block extension.

How to manage and delete cookies

Additionally, your browser may offer more sophisticated controls, for example you may be able to set your browser to refuse third party cookies, or to tell it to ask you each time it is asked to set a cookie. Aboutcookies.org gives advice on the use of cookies and how to manage them.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The ICO lists GoStats cookies as "third party cookies" - and these originate from a USA domain, so may not be covered by the UK's The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

The regulations state:

"For the purposes of paragraph (2), consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or programme to signify consent."

The ICO has advised re third party cookies:

"Some websites allow third parties to set cookies on a user's device. Obviously, the process of getting consent for these cookies is more complex and our view is that everyone has a part to play in making sure that the user is aware of what is being collected and by whom.

We would advise anyone whose website allows or uses third party cookies to make sure that they are doing everything they can to get the right information to users and that they are allowing users to make informed choices about what is stored on their device.

This may be the most challenging area in which to achieve compliance with the new rules and we are working with industry and other European data protection authorities to assist in addressing complexities and finding the right answers."

Privacy groups, which pushed for greater regulation on cookies, want to see users able to give consent to every cookie presented to them. Users of the Opera browser should select Tools from the Menu bar, then select Preferences, select the Advanced tab, and then select Cookies. In the right hand pane select "Ask me before accepting cookies" and the Opera browser will ask you before accepting each cookie. You can also use the Content- Manage Site Preferences controls (right click when on a page blank area) to accept cookies from particular domains, avoiding having to be asked each time.

On 24th May 2011, the Department of Culture Media and Sport gave certain advices regarding consent. The word "prior" does not occur in Article 5(3) of the Directive, and it therefore does not appear in the UK transposition. Crucially, there is no indication in the definition as to when that consent may be given, and so it is possible that consent may be given after or during processing.

It is the view of Government, reflected in the Information Commissioner's advice, that the regulation should therefore be understood to read that if a subscriber or user is able to signify consent through the amending or setting of a browser (assuming they are provided with appropriate information), they "may" also signify consent through choosing not to amend settings or controls of a browser.

The case is more complex than our lawmakers have considered and detailed guidance would appear to be some way off. This long note is to notify you of the use of cookies, the use they are put to, and how you can avoid them.

Detailed notes about cookie use and information storage

GoStats will use your browser's request for either the image or the javascript to record the page you looked at, the referrer (where you came from if it was a link), date, time, and your IP address at the time. Javascript may report on your OS, browser, screen resolution, language.

This information is used to identify which pages on this website are receiving visitors and need to be maintained. Visitor IP information is recorded by GoStats but is only used by me to identify the country the visitor is from, useful for directing some content.

To maintain visitors' privacy, the stats kept by GoStats for this web site are not being made publicly available

Use of GoStats has done a major service to website visitors by letting me know which pages are the most popular, and which areas of the site that I need to concentrate on. The privacy concerns of visitors are appreciated and this site will function normally if you refuse all cookies and turn javascript off. A few pages have image content which you will miss with images disabled.