What are Cookies? How Do We Use Them?
Cookies and other online tracking technologies (collectively, “Cookies”) are small bits of data or code that are used to identify your devices when you use and interact with our Site. They can be used, for example, for remembering your preferences, identifying popular articles, remembering you’re logged in and allowing you to comment on forums. Cookies can include HTTP cookies, HTML5 and Flash local storage, web beacons/GIFs, embedded scripts and e-tags/cache browsers (all as defined below in Section 6 – Definitions).
- Protect our Networks
Cookies and similar technologies help us identify and prevent threats to our sites. They are necessary to protect your information and our business from outside threats.
- Allow You to Access our Site
Cookies and similar technologies permit your connection to our Site. Our servers receive and record information about your computer, device, and browser, including potentially your IP address, browser type, other software or hardware information, and your geographic location. This can allow us to remember your log-in status and viewing preferences from a previous use of the Site, for when you later return to the Site.
- Assess Your Usage of Our Site
We use information about your usage of our services, websites and apps, such as pages you have visited, content you have viewed, search queries you have run and advertisements you have seen or interacted with to assess how our Site is used.
- Provide You with Relevant Content
The content on our Site may be adjusted depending on what we know about the content, products and services that you like. This means we can highlight content and articles that we believe will be of interest to you. We provide personalization by using cookies, IP addresses, web beacons, URL tracking and mobile app settings.
- Selling Third Party Advertising
Many of these companies combine information they collect from our Site with other information they have independently collected relating to your web browser’s activities across their network of websites. These companies collect and use this information under their own privacy policies.
These companies, their privacy policies and the opt-outs they offer can be found in the following table. We provide the table as a courtesy, but we are not obligated to maintain or update it and we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. We are not responsible for third-party sites and their privacy practices as it relates to opt-outs from tracking activities.
- Web Beacons
Small graphic images or other web programming code called web beacons (also known as “1×1 GIFs” or “clear GIFs”) can be included in our online service’s pages and messages. Web beacons are invisible to you, but any electronic image or other web programming code inserted into a page or e-mail can act as a web beacon. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies. In contrast to HTTP cookies, which are stored on a user’s computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on web pages and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
- Deterministic Finger-printing Technologies
If a user can be positively identified across multiple devices, for instance, because the user has logged into a platform such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo or Twitter, it can be “determined” who the user is for purposes of improving customer service.
- Probabilistic Finger-printing
Probabilistic tracking depends upon collecting non-personal data regarding device attributes like operating system, device make and model, IP addresses, ad requests and location data, and making statistical inferences to link multiple devices to a single user. Note that this is accomplished through proprietary algorithms owned by the companies performing probabilistic finger-printing. Note also that in the EU IP Addresses are personal information.
- Device Graph
Device graphs can be created by combining non-personal data regarding use of smartphones and other devices with personal log-in information to track interactions with content across multiple devices.
- Unique Identifier Header (UIDH)
“Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) is the address information that accompanies Internet (http) requests transmitted over an ISP’s wireless network. For example, when a customer types on his or her phone the web address of a retailer that request travels over the network and is delivered to the retailer’s website. The information included in that request includes things like the device type and screen size so that the retailer site knows how to best display the site on the phone. The UIDH is included in this information, and can be used as an anonymous way for advertisers to be able to determine that the user is part of a group that a third-party advertiser is attempting to reach. It is important to note that the UIDH is a temporary, anonymous identifier included with unencrypted web traffic. We change the UIDH on a regular basis to protect the privacy of our customers. We do not use the UIDH to collect web browsing information and it does not broadcast individuals’ web browsing activity out to advertisers or others.”
- Embedded Script
An embedded script is programming code that is designed to collect information about your interactions with the online service, such as the links you click on. The code is temporarily downloaded onto your device from our web server or a third-party service provider, is active only while you are connected to the online service, and is deactivated or deleted thereafter.
- ETag, or Entity Tag
A feature of the cache in browsers, an ETag is an opaque identifier assigned by a web server to a specific version of a resource found at a URL. If the resource content at that URL ever changes, a new and different ETag is assigned. Used in this manner ETags are a form of device identifier. ETag tracking generates unique tracking values even where the consumer blocks HTTP, Flash, and/or HTML5 cookies.
- Unique Device Tokens
For each user that accepts push notifications in mobile apps, the app developer is provided with a unique device token (think of it as an address) from the app platform (e.g., Apple and Google).
- Unique Device ID
The unique series of numbers and letters assigned to your device