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Cookies

Small Cookies IconA cookie is information saved by your web browser.

When you visit a website, the site may place a cookie on your web browser so it can recognize your device in the future.  If you return to that site later on, it can read that cookie to remember you from your last visit and keep track of you over time.

Uses

  • collect information about the pages you view and your activities on the site
  • enable the site to recognize you, for example by:
    • remembering your user ID
    • offering an online shopping cart
    • keeping track of your preferences if you visit the website again
  • customize your browsing experience
  • deliver ads targeted to you

The cookie transmits this information back to the website’s computer (or server).  You can set your web browser to warn you about attempts to place cookies on your computer or to limit the type of cookies you allow.

Two General Types

Single-Sesison Cookies

  • help with navigation on the website
  • only record information temporarily and are erased when the user quits the session or closes the browser
  • are enabled by default in order to provide the smoothest navigation experience possible
  • are known as Tier 1 technologies under applicable government guidance

Persistent/Multi-Session Cookies

  • remain on your computer and record information every time you visit some websites
  • are stored on the hard drive of your computer until you manually delete them from a browser folder, or until they expire, which can be months or years after they were placed on your computer
  • are used by the VA solely to provide analysis of site use and to maintain access quality for users; capture only a unique, randomly assigned identifier for each user and do not send or receive information on non-VA websites
  • are known as Tier 2 technologies under applicable government guidance

Refer to VA Handbook 6502.3, Web page Privacy Policy, for more information on the use of persistent cookies on VA websites.

Resources

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