Questions About Cookies
Question: What is a "cookie"?
Answer: A "cookie" is a small piece of information passed
between a Web site (such as ours) and the Web browser on your computer.
Written as a simple text file, a cookie is useful because it helps your
browser remember specific information that the Web server can later
retrieve. All the latest browsers accept cookies as normal
your authentication data. This means that, with cookies enabled, you don't
need to log in every time you click to a new page anywhere within our site.
Therefore your browser must be set to accept cookies before you can take
advantage of our services. If you received this message, it's because your
browser is currently set to not accept cookies. To proceed within our site,
you must set your browser to accept cookies.
Note: We do
not store any of your personal information in the cookie or on your
Question: Tell me more: Why are cookies needed?
Answer: Cookies are important to our site, and to most other
commercial sites on the Web, for several reasons. Cookies help us make sure
that you get the information relevant to choices you make while visiting a
add to your "shopping cart" while you browse. The cookie in your browser
becomes a list of items selected, so when you're finished shopping you can
then pay for all the items at once instead of one at a time. Because the
list is kept on your browser instead of on the store's Web server, there's
no chance of your "shopping cart" getting lost or erased at the server --
even if thousands of people are using the store's server at the same time
You can think of our cookie as a "pass key" or "ID
badge" that allows you to browse our site without having to manually
identify yourself at every "door."
Question: Does accepting a cookie put me at risk?
Answer: Contrary to what you might have heard from less reliable
sources, no. The only information that can be stored in a cookie is
information that you provide or the choices you make while visiting a Web
site. A Web site cannot find your email name or other information unless you
deliberately give that information by typing it directly into the Web site.
Allowing a Web site to create a cookie does not give that site access to the
rest of your computer, and in almost all cases only the site that created
the cookie can read it.
The only possible risk -- and it's very small
-- involves privacy issues that could arise if one site provides a cookie
that can be read by another site. We have already eliminated that
possibility. Our cookies are readable ONLY by our site. The
information you provide to us does not go anywhere else. So it is
always safe for you to accept our cookies.
Question: What information is in our cookies?
Answer: The only information stored in our cookies is the identification of our Web site. As you click from page to page within our site, this
identification data tells our server that you have already logged in to our
site and don't need to log in again during this session visit. No other
information is stored in our cookie.
Question: How long do cookies last?
Answer: Our cookies "expire" after either one of two things happen:
- You leave ("log off" or "exit") our site.
- 20 minutes pass with no activity from you. After 20 minutes, the site
and the cookie assume that you are no longer present, so you are
automatically logged off of the site. You will have to log in again to
In each case, the cookie remains in your computer's
memory. Next time you visit our site, the cookie contains just enough
information to tell us that you have visited here before. This helps to
authenticate your identity, enhancing both your security and ours.
Question: What cookies CANNOT do
- A cookie cannot give a Web server or programmer any
private information about you or the contents of your computer. The only
way that any private information could be in your cookie file is if you
personally gave that information to a Web server in the first place and it
decided to put that information into your cookie for some reason.
- Almost all cookies (including ours) cannot be passed
from one server to another. For example, if you leave our site and then
move to a completely different site, there is no possible way for our
cookie to communicate with any server or person associated with the other
site. Each cookie is marked with information about the specific Web server
it is for.
- A cookie cannot spread a computer virus to your or
any other computer.