1. What are cookies and why we do we use them on the MEISYS Medical Information System website (hereinafter referred to as MEISYS)?
A cookie is a file that is downloaded by the user’s device when accessing certain websites, to store and retrieve information about navigation that takes place from said device.
Cookies allow such websites, amongst other things, to store and retrieve information about the user’s decisions and browsing habits. At MEISYS we use them to personalise our website experience, to identify and remember the registered user, and to make navigation easier.
The user can set their browser so that it doesn’t accept cookies, in which case the customisation of the experience will not be applied, although they’ll still be able to access our website content as normal.
On the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie) you can find more information about what cookies are and how they work.
2. What type of cookies are used by the MEISYS website?
Depending on the time period, cookies can be categorised as session cookies or persistent cookies. The former expire when the user closes the browser. The latter expire when they are no longer required (for example, if they serve to keep the user identified on MEISYS services and websites), or when they are deleted manually.
Furthermore, cookies can be classified according to their purpose, as seen below:
- Performance cookies: this type of cookie remembers your preferences for the service’s tools, meaning you don’t need to adjust the service settings each time you visit. By way of example, this includes:
- The volume settings of video or audio players.
- The video transmission speeds that are compatible with your browser.
- Geolocation cookies: these cookies are used to determine the country of a user when they request a website or service. This cookie is completely anonymous, and is only used to help guide content to its location.
- Log cookies: log cookies are created once the user is registered or has subsequently signed in, and are used to identify them on the website and services with the following objectives:
- They keep the user identified in such a way that if they close the service, website, browser or computer and then return to it later on, they will still be recognised, thereby easing their browsing experience by not needing to sign in again. This functionality can be eliminated by the user by clicking “Sign Out”. By doing so, the cookie is erased and the user will have to sign in next time they visit the website in order to be identified.
- They check that the user is authorised to access certain services, such as participating in a competition.
- Additionally, some services can connect to third parties such as Facebook, Twitter or Google. When the user signs up to a service with social network credentials or a third party identification system, they authorise it to save a persistent cookie that remembers who they are and grants them access to the website until it expires. The user can delete this cookie and revoke access to the website by social networks or a third party identification system by updating their preferences on the relevant social network.
- Analytical cookies: Each time a user visits a website or service, an external provider tool (such as Google Analytics and comScore) creates an analytical cookie on the user’s device. This cookie, which is only created by visiting a page, will serve to anonymously identify the visitor in future visits to MEISYS services. The main objectives are:
- To allow anonymous identification of the user through the “cookie” (which identifies internet browsers and devices, not people), and therefore the approximate number of visitors and their tendencies over time.
- To anonymously identify the most visited content, and by doing so identify those which are most attractive to users.
- To know if the user accessing the page is new or if they are a returning visitor. Unless the user decides to register themselves on the MEISYS website, the cookie will never be associated with any personal data that could be used to identify them. These cookies will only be used for statistical purposes which help to optimise user experience on the site.
- Advertising cookies: these cookies allow for a wider range of advertising information to be exhibited to each anonymous user on MEISYS websites. Amongst other things, they log the duration or frequency of viewing advertisements and any interaction made with them, or browsing patterns and/or user behaviours, since they help to shape a profile which is of advertising interest. In this way, they are able to advertise according to the user’s interests.
3. How do I disable browser cookies?
Most browsers currently allow the user to configure whether they want to accept cookies, or even select particular ones. These settings are normally found under ‘options’ or ‘preferences’ in the browser’s menu.
Here are the instructions for configuring cookies in the most popular browsers:
- Chrome: Settings -> Show Advanced Options -> Privacy -> Content settings. For more information, you can consult Google technical support or your browser’s help menu.
- Firefox: Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> History -> Personal Settings. For more information, you can consult Mozilla technical support or your browser’s help menu.
- Internet Explorer: Tools -> Internet Options -> Privacy -> Settings. For more information, you can consult Microsoft support or your browser’s Help menu.
- Safari: Preferences -> Security. For more information, you can consult Apple support or your browser’s help menu.