Use of cookies on our sites

Information about the use of cookies on the IET websites.

Why are cookies used on the IET websites?

Often, websites need to maintain information as you move from page to page, and possibly between your browsing sessions. For example, you expect, when moving between pages in a web shop, that the site will keep track of the contents of your shopping basket. If you have logged in, you expect the site to recognise you on each subsequent page. Cookies are used to meet these expectations.

Cookies are small pieces of identifying information, stored by your browser on your PC, to enable such information about your session to be maintained. The cookie may contain actual information (e.g. the date of your last visit), or just a unique reference ID that allows the site to look up (for example) the contents of your shopping basket in its databases.

If a site sets cookies routinely, these can also be used to track your successive page views, and therefore your behaviour on the site, whether or not you are logged in. Unless you log in or complete an enquiry form, such use of cookies will not enable the site to identify you (because cookies can only give access to information that the site already has). The IET will not attempt to identify you unless you log in.

Cookies set by one site cannot be read by another. However, one web page may be made up of components (such as news stories, images or advertising), some of which are delivered from third parties. Each of those third-party sites will be able to set and read its own cookies on any page where its content appears.

How are cookies used on the IET websites?

The short version

If you block cookies from the IET websites, you will not be able to log in, and a range of other functions, such as the shopping basket and the tracking of new messages in the discussion forums, will fail. However, you will be able to browse most of the information on the IET sites. The IET uses some third-party services, and you may need to consult their policies separately.

The long version

The IET offers a range of websites and services to its members, customers and other web users, and these use cookies in varying ways. Therefore, if you block cookies, the effects will vary, depending on which IET service you are using. Many of the IET's cookies are essential to the delivery of the services that you have chosen:

Cookie name

Notes on uses

Cookies with suffix _session

Description: used by the Zapnito platform to identify who you are. Assigned when you log in, this keeps you logged in to the site so you don’t have to constantly re-enter your username and password. This isn’t set unless you are a registered user. Expiration: when the browsing session ends.

__utma

Description: Google Analytics cookie, created when the javascript library executes and no existing __utma cookies exists. The cookie is updated every time data is sent to Google Analytics. Expiration: 2 years from set/update Used to distinguish users and sessions.

__utmb

Description: Google Analytics cookie, used to determine new sessions/visits. The cookie is created when the javascript library executes and no existing __utmb cookies exists. The cookie is updated every time data is sent to Google Analytics. Expiration: 30 mins from set/update.

__utmc

Description: Google Analytics cookie, not used in ga.js. Set for interoperability with urchin.js. Historically, this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether the user was in a new session/visit. Expiration: End of browser session.

__utmz

Description: Google Analytics cookie, stores the traffic source or campaign that explains how the user reached your site. The cookie is created when the javascript library executes and is updated every time data is sent to Google Analytics. Expiration: 6 months from set/update.

Cookies with gs_u_GSN prefix

Description: Go Squared Analytics cookie, used to determine new sessions/visits. The cookie is created when the javascript library executes and no existing gs_u_GSN cookie exists. The cookie is updated every time data is sent to GoSquared. Expiration: 2 years from set/update. Used to distinguish users and session.

Local Storage

Description: HTML5 local storage used by the Zapnito platform to store local data to improve performance of the website to improve the experience of using the site.

In addition, the IET uses third parties to deliver services to members and others. These third-party servers may set cookies in accordance with their own cookie and privacy policies, which you should consult separately. They include:

  • The IET uses email services from Adestra to inform its members and contacts of relevant activities, events, services and products. The levels of response to these emails are tracked, in order to improve the effectiveness of IET communications. Since emails are sent from addresses in the domain email.ietinfo.org, and should you click on links in such emails, you may find cookies from that domain.
  • IET.tv, which uses Stream UK to deliver webcasts. These appear mostly in the IET.tv site, but also embedded in some web pages elsewhere. You may block cookies from scpro.streamuk.com if you wish.
  • The electronic information services provided to members by the IET Library.
  • Some pages, especially in E&T Magazine, include content from Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and other services. These have their own cookie and privacy policies.
  • The AddThis social bookmarking and sharing widget appears on some pages, especially again in E&T Magazine. Its privacy policy is accessible by hovering over the widget.
  • If the IET is currently conducting a survey or requesting feedback (for example in user trials), cookies may be used to record the fact that you have seen the invitation to respond. The aim is to avoid showing you the invitation repeatedly. If you reject these cookies, you may see the message a number of times.

Using your browser to block cookies, and further information

The site AllAboutCookies [new window] provides independent information on cookies, and how to block them in specific browsers.

If you have questions about our use of cookies, please contact compliance@theiet.org.

Updated 22 January 2016