Privacy and Cookies
Today I want to introduce some changes we are making on BBC Online so that it is easier for you to manage the cookies we use. This is in response to changes in the regulations about cookies which my colleague Kate Leece last blogged about in May 2011.
She explained how the regulations were changing and the steps we were taking to meet the new rules. The UK implementation of the new regime is led by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and more information can be found on the ICO website.
The principle behind the changes is that users of websites should be given more information about the cookies set on their computers or other devices by those websites, and the means to set their own preferences.
At the same time, both regulators and publishers are keen to find a way to do this that is not intrusive and does not unduly disrupt a user’s normal experience of a site. We have made a number of changes to the BBC website to ensure that we give users more control over the types of cookies they accept.
Our cookies pages have been rewritten and given a separate link from the bottom of every page.
We have built a new feature which allows you to turn off any of the three classes of cookies on the BBC’s website, which are not in the category of "Strictly Necessary Cookies", as explained in the section on different types of cookies below, if you wish to do so. This functionality will be on the international website bbc.com soon. is also available on the international website, bbc.com.
The new feature enables users to turn off cookies that are not strictly necessary
The pages also explain how users can manage the cookies set by the Adobe Flash Player.
At the present time it is not technically possible for us to allow you to carry your settings with you between your browsers and devices so you will need to change these settings from each browser you use.
Users will be offered three options:
- to find out more about cookies
- to change their settings
- or to continue their journey, either by clicking on Continue or by clicking elsewhere on the page
Users who subsequently decide to change their settings can do so at any time by clicking on the link to Cookies in the footer of every page.
The ICO’s guidance defines four different types of cookie:
Strictly Necessary Cookies, few in number, are those which are essential to enable you to move around the website and use its essential features. Without them a user’s normal expectations cannot be met. One example is the cookie that allows you to automatically sign in to the BBC website for a service which you have previously registered for.
The second category is Functionality Cookies. These cookies allow the website to remember a user’s preferences in terms of look and feel, language or location. One example is to enable you to set your preferred location to receive your local news and weather forecast.
Performance Cookies collect information, usually anonymised, about the areas of the site visited by a user, frequency of visits and any errors experienced, inter alia. This information helps publishers to improve their services by helping them to understand user behaviour and experience in the mass.
Finally, Advertising Cookies gather information which helps to ensure that the advertisements served to a user are relevant. In the BBC’s case these only apply to users who access our services from outside the UK via the BBC’s international site, bbc.com, which is advertising funded. This data is also anonymised. There is more on this on our cookies pages.
Ian Hunter is Managing Editor, BBC Online
Other useful links:
Correction (cookie management on bbc.com) 11:38 Fri 25 May