What are cookies?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) defines a cookie as “a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things e.g. remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website.”

Current cookie legislation

On 26 May 2012, new European law relating to use of web cookies came into force in the UK that will affect most web sites. The rules on cookies are covered by The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 and The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 and ICO is responsible for enforcing these new rules.

The regulations also cover similar technologies for storing information, e.g. Flash cookies. The ICO and International Chamber of Commerce both provided guidance and advice on EU cookie directive and its implementation. Please refer to their detailed guides for more information:

General use of information collected, used and stored by Imperial College London is governed by Imperial College policies.

Types of cookies

1. Strictly necessary cookies

These will generally be used to store a unique identifier to manage and identify the user as unique to other users currently viewing the website, in order to provide a consistent and accurate service to the user.

2. Functionality cookies

Will typically be the result of a user action, but might also be implemented in the delivery of a service not explicitly requested but offered to the user. They can also be used to prevent the user being offered a service again that had previously been offered to that user and rejected.

3. Performance cookies

These are limited to performance and website improvement.

4. Targeting/advertising cookies

These contain a unique key that is able to distinguish individual users’ browsing habits or store a code that can be translated into a set of browsing habits or preferences using information stored elsewhere.

Cookies set by Imperial College London

Imperial does not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you, track your behaviour or share information with 3rd parties from College owned web sites.

Most cookies set by the College are temporary, or session, cookies and they are removed from your browser when your session ends. You do not need to take any action to remove them. Some of these cookies are essential in providing the services you are requesting from us during the session so when they are disabled parts of the web site may stop working. We therefore encourage you to accept the cookies we serve. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our or any other website, you can do this through your Browser settings.

Strictly necessary Cookies

Cookie NameDescriptionBehaviour
JSESSIONID Predefined site-specific session identifier commonly used by components of the web server. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
SSO_ID Single Sign-On authentication cookie to access protected content on the College web sites. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
ssousername Your login name to access protected content on the web site. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
ssopassword Encrypted password to access protected content on the web site. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
ssousr Your login name to access protected content on the web site. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
ssopwd Encrypted password to access protected content on the web site. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
portallive Session cookie that identifies web server instance. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
ICWWWAffinityIIS7 Session cookie that is set by the web farm to correctly handle your request to multiple instances of the service. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
JServSessionIdrootictss11 Session cookie that is set by the web farm to correctly handle your request to multiple instances of the service. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
icisprddbsvc_icisprd Set by www4.imperial.ac.uk to identify calling web service Temporary, removed at the end of session. Essential to run a job search.
PHPSESSID Predefined site-specific session identifier commonly used by components of the web server. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
JServSessionIdrootictss13 Set by wwwe.imperial .ac.uk to identify calling student web service  session Temporary, removed at the end of session. Essential to run student web services.
ossprddbsvc_ossprd Set by wwwe.imperial.ac.uk to identify calling student web service Temporary, removed at the end of session. Essential to run student web services.
oracle.uix Set by www4.imperial.ac.uk to correctly handle time zone and time based job search Persistent, expires in 10 years. Essential to run a job search.
wordpress_sec_{} Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress b log site for a logged in user Temporary, removed at the end of session. Essential to login into the blog dashboard
wordpress_logged_in_{} Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress blog site for a logged in user Temporary, removed at the end of session. Essential to login into the blog dashboard
ASP.NET_SessionId A cookie with a random number set by different instances of www.imperial.ac.uk and other College sites to identify a user web session. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
BALANCEID7 Set by www1.imperial.ac.uk site to enable load balancing. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
JSESSIONIDVISTA Set by Virtual Learning Environment VLE.imperial.ac.uk site to enable session management. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
webctnode Set by Virtual Learning Environment VLE.imperial.ac.uk site to enable load balancing. Temporary, removed at the end of session.
AuthCookie Set by library booking system to provide access to protected Temporary, removed at the end of session.
JavaScriptActive Session attribute set by College web sites Temporary, removed at the end of session.
PDS_HANDLE Patron Directory authentication set by the Library System. Temporary, removed at the end of session.

Functionality Cookies

Cookie nameDescriptionBehaviour
 wp-settings-{user id} Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress blog site for protected content to customize your view of admin interface and also the main site interface. Persistent, expires after 1 year. Essential to login into the blog dashboard.
 wp-settings-time-{user id} Cookie set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress blog site for protected content Persistent, expires after 1 year. Essential to login into the blog dashboard.
 wordpress_test_cookie Test cookie set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress blog site for protected content Temporary, removed at the end of session.
Essential to login into the blog dashboard.
 user-Profile Cookie set by Library Electronic Journals catalog web site Persistent, expires after 1 year. Can be blocked.
 PHPSESSID Set by Library Search service that embeds this additional service from recommender.bibtip.de Temporary, removed at the end of session. Can be blocked.
Local Shared Objects (or Flash cookies) When playing media content from 3rd parties Please visit Adobe web site for details on how to delete or disable Flash cookies either for a specific domain like imperial.ac.uk or for all websites. Restricting the use of Flash Cookies may affect the features available to you for Flash based applications.

Performance Cookies

Cookie nameDescriptionBehaviour
 __utmz Used by Google Analytics. Tracking Traffic Sources and Navigation Persistent, expires after 6 months. Can be blocked or opted-out.
 __utmc Used by Google Analytics to determine visitor session Session cookie, removed at the end of session. Can be blocked or opted-out.
 __utmb Used by Google Analytics to determine visitor session. Persistent, expires after 30 minutes. Can be blocked or opted-out.
 __utma Used by Google Analytics to identifying unique visitors. Persistent, expires after 2 years. Can be blocked or opted-out
 __ipprototest_last_run Imperial College enabled IPv6 infrastructure and tests capability of your device to support this network protocol. Persistent, expires after 1 day. Can be blocked.
 IMPERIALMEDIA Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk for media files embedded on College web sites. Persistent, expires after 25 days. Can be blocked.
 websitez_mobile_detector Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress site to detect whether the visitor is using a mobile device in order to present a different version of the website. Persistent, expires after 1 hour. Can be blocked.
 __qca  Set by wwwf.imperial.ac.uk WordPress site. Uses statistics in order to analyse data from different websites and combine it with other non-personally identifiable information to produce reports that are made available on the Quantcast.com site. These reports enable web publishers and advertisers to deliver audience segments that are appropriate for their products or services. Persistent, expires after 5 years. Can be blocked.

Targeting / Advertising Cookies

Cookie nameDescriptionBehaviour
id/IDE Used by Google DoubleClick for serving ads across the web. Persistent, expires after 2 years. Can be blocked.

Cookies set by 3rd parties

We use 3rd party services like Google Analytics who set cookies to collect information about website users and usage patterns – this information is helpful to plan and maintain the service. Most of these cookies are not essential for providing the services your request from us and can be blocked.

Sharing information via social network sites

Imperial websites and applications may have links embedded into pages to popular social networks like twitter.com, bbc.co.uk, flickr.com, facebook.com, delicious.com, stumbleupon.com, digg.com, youtube.com etc. Cookies generated by those sites are outside of the College’s control and may change without notice. When you share a page or link those sites may set cookies on your device or browser and can also make information about you publicly available or stored elsewhere. If you would like more information about privacy and the cookies used by these services, as well as information on how to opt-out, please visit their websites.

Clearing or restricting cookies

If you like keeping your browsing private, you may wish to clear history and cookies after the session. You can do so by using the browser, device settings or 3rd party tools.

You may also wish to check and set any devices or browsers to restrict or block cookies by default for all or selected web sites only. You can manage cookie usage through your browser settings:

Mobile devices may have their own settings and you may need to refer to vendor manuals. Please note that disabling or restricting cookies may impact some parts of the College web site and they will stop working.

Contact us

For queries regarding privacy, use of cookies or other information please contact us at privacy@imperial.ac.uk or write to the address below:

Privacy
ICT, Level 4, Sherfield Building
Imperial College London
Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London
United Kingdom