A cookie is a computer text file sent to a visitor's Web browser (the software used to access the Internet such as Internet Explorer and Netscape) by a Web server (the computer that hosts the Web site) in order to remember certain pieces of information. This can be a convenience for both Web site visitors and operators because it can be used to reduce the amount of time to input and process the same information each time a Web site is used.
Information stored within a cookie can be read only by the Web server that originally sent the cookie, not by other Web servers.
Typically, a cookie comprises of:
Yes, there are two types of cookies.
Session cookies: These cookies reside on the Web browser and have no expiry date. They are terminated as soon as the visitor closes the Web browser. Session cookies remember information only for as long as the visitor operates the Web browser in a single "session" (or "sitting"). They are compiled into statistical information on traffic patterns and are used to assess site efficiency.
Persistent cookies: These cookies have an expiry date, are stored on a visitor's hard drive and are read by the visitor's browser each time the visitor visits the Web site that sent the cookie. It is possible for the Web site that created the cookie to extend the expiry date without notice to the visitor. They will remain there until the set date has expired or until the visitor has deleted the file. In order to protect your privacy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will ask for your consent if a persistent cookie is used to collect personal information.
It is the policy of DFO to inform you when cookies are being used to collect personal information on a DFO Web site. You will find this information by clicking on the Important Notices link at the bottom of DFO web pages and linking to the "Privacy" section of the page. The system will notify you before any persistent cookies are used to collect personal information so that you may refuse them.
In addition, each time a persistent cookie is used to collect personal information, you will be informed before providing any information stored by that cookie. These are called "Privacy Notice Statements" and they appear at every part of the Web site where personal information is requested.
You are entitled to know what information is gathered by applications and what is stored in cookies, for what purpose, how the information is stored, where you can gain access to your personal information and who to contact if you have any questions.
Cookies are commonly used for the convenience of site visitors. They can be used to customize Web pages and to save visitors the time of re-typing information. Cookies are also employed to remember what a visitor communicated on one Web page so that subsequent pages can provide data consistent with earlier patterns.
Cookies also enable DFO to learn about visitor trends so that we can modify our Web site to better suite your online needs by:
No. Cookies can only store data that is provided by the server or generated by an explicit action by a visitor.
Cookies cannot be used to gather sensitive information such as the fields in a browser preference file. They can be used to store any information provided by the server/application that the visitor volunteers and that the Web site places in the cookie, for example by filling out an HTML form. In this case, however, the same information can just as easily (and with potentially more objectionable privacy concerns) be stored on the server by using a simple server-side application that stores visitor information in a database. Cookies are passive data structures that are delivered to the visitor, stored on the visitor's hard drive, and returned in certain situations to the same server that provided the information in the first place.
Persistent cookie data is stored on the visitor's hard drive (although during actual communication it is stored in memory). The file name is different for each platform. For session cookies, they are only held in memory.
A Web site may set an expiration date for a cookie it delivers and extend it later without notice to the visitor. If no expiration date is specified, the cookie is deleted when the visitor quits the browser. When no date is set, cookies often default to 30 years as an expiration date.
No. A cookie is a small text file and cannot carry a virus or interfere with any of the other files on your computer.
All common browsers now support cookies.
Below are the instructions on how to adjust your cookie settings. Please note that disabling cookies will cause some sections of the DFO Web site or Web applications to fail.
If you use Internet Explorer 5.5 or earlier:
If you use Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher:
If you are using Netscape Navigator 3.x, you can choose whether or not to accept a cookie by: