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cookies at abelard.org and your privacy

New translation, the Magna Carta

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why are cookies a topic?
what are cookies?
how do we use cookies
third party cookies and controlling them
on controlling cookies
opt-out programmes
our cookies pop-up banner
on privacy
the EU ePrivacy Directive
the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Why are cookies a topic?

We are now obliged by European Union law to display a pop-up banner asking whether you, as a visitor to abelard.org, agree to have cookies placed on your device (desktop computer, tablet, etc).

However, because we currently display Google Adsense ads, Google now takes precendence over the popup we display. Thus, when you visit abelard.org, there is now a white box curtesy of Google Inc superimposed on the abelard.org cookie banner as now required by the EU.

google cookie consent box (60% size)
Google cookie consent box (60% size)

The abelard.org cookie banner is seen the first time you visit abelard.org, at the top of the page you are visiting. If you have clicked on "I understand" and then return to abelard.org within 365 days (a year),you will not see this banner again. We don't want to keep nagging you.

If you want more detailed information on both the EU ePrivacy Directive and the more recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the links take you further down this page.

What are cookies?

A cookie is a piece of code in a small text file that a web site sends to your internet browser. It is then stored on your system, whether computer or mobile device. Generally, cookies enable the web site to remember your actions and preferences (such as login, language, font size and other display preferences) over a period of time, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you come back to the site or browse from one page to another. This is sometimes called "tailored information".

Third-party cookies are those placed by organisations unrelated to abelard.org that provide advertising (Google) or other services such as videos (YouTube).

How do we use cookies

  • abelard.org sometimes places small data files called cookies on your device (computer, tablet etc) for the purposes of analysis, relevance, advertising and software functioning, in order to make this site work effectively.

  • Any cookies are only used for the purposes described. They are not sold, or otherwise shared, with other organisations.

  • The cookie-related information is not used to identify you personally and the pattern data is fully under our control. These cookies are not used for any purpose other than those described here.

  • There are also session (non-persistent) cookies that help the web page you see to appear properly.

  • Enabling these cookies is not strictly necessary for the web site to work, but it will provide you with a better browsing experience. You can delete or block these cookies, but if you do that some features of this site may not work as intended.

  • Below is a list of cookies this website uses:
    Cookie name
    Google Analytics cookies (analysing Google AdSense data).


    For your information, the content of one of four cookies received from abelard.org looks like this:

    Name __utma Content 12447716.1761517442.1527971304.1527971304.1527971304.1 Domain .abelard.org Path / Send for Any kind of connection Accessible to script Yes Created Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 10:28:29 PM Expires Monday, June 1, 2020 at 10:28:55 PM

    Google Analytics is software that helps us to analyse how visitors use our site. We use this information to improve abelard.org and provide the best experience to visitors.

    More information
    These cookies collect data in an anonymous form. See Google's privacy policy for further information:

    To opt out of these cookies, visit Google's website: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=None

    Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and/or other sites on the Internet.
    Google applies their third-party cookies to abelard.org in order to deliver its services, to personalise ads and to analyse traffic. Information about your use of this site is called by Google. Here is more about how Google advertising uses cookies and here is information on cookies and the recently introduced Google Analytics. This is what Google has said previously:

    "Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet. Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy." • Videos embedded in our pages may use a cookie to anonymously gather statistics on how you got there and what videos you visited.

    For more information regarding Google Inc.'s cookie policies, see the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) section below.

Third-party cookies and controlling them

"Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's previous visits to your website or other websites."

abelard.org is not responsible or liable for the independent privacy policies of third-party sites and advertisers.

Regarding advertising and other services whether from Google or elsewhere, note that third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your browser, or using web beacons to collect information, in the course of ads being served on the abelard.org website.

A cookie will not be placed by abelard.org, but may placed by the advertiser and/or the advertising supplier (such as Google) if you click on an ad and are sent to a third-party website.

We do not have access to data collected by third-party services and cannot prevent third-party services from setting these cookies. Where possible, we will notify you that third-party cookies may be set when using certain services.

Below are details on third-party services more commonly used at abelard.org :

Twitter cookies
On pages that have the Twitter feed enabled, Twitter may set cookies. For more details on what information Twitter collects, please visit their website: https://twitter.com/privacy

• YouTube cookies
We sometimes embed videos from YouTube. YouTube uses cookies to help maintain the integrity of video statistics, prevent fraud and to improve their site experience. If you view a video, YouTube may set cookies on your computer. Visit YouTube's page on embedding videos for more information: http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=171780&expand=PrivacyEnhancedMode#privacy

• Flickr cookies
We may embed Flickr photo gallery Flash players. When viewing a page with an embedded Flash player, Flickr may set cookies on your machine, and further cookies may be set when you click on the Flash player - both by Flickr and its parent company Yahoo. For more information, visit Yahoo's cookies page: http://info.yahoo.com/privacy/uk/yahoo/cookies/ (You will need to "choose your region from the [rather large] list".)

• Addthis.com cookies
Addthis.com applies cookies as part of their provision of social media links and information. For more detail, see Addthis.com's cookies and The AddThis Privacy Policy.
Twitter and Facebook may also create cookies on being stimulated by addthis.com activity.

On controlling cookies

You can control and/or delete cookies as you wish – for details, see aboutcookies.org. You can delete all cookies that are already on your computer and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed. If you do this, however, you may have to manually adjust some preferences every time you visit a site and some services and functionalities may not work.

By the way, cookies are used by most websites, the internet could not function without cookies!

Opt-out programmes

In general, opt-out programmes are available at

Our cookies pop-up banner

  • When you close the abelard.org cookies (pop-up) banner, one of the following cookies will be set on your machine to remember your preference:
  • If you click 'Understood': a permanent cookie will be set so that the pop-up doesn't display across any pages for the next 365 days. The cookie will be destroyed after that time, and the pop-up will display again if you visit the abelard.org in a year's time.

  • If you have Javascript disabled, a message will display in the footer of the site instead.

  • This cookie is to remember whether you have agreed (or not) to our use of cookies on this site as required by EU law! Such a cookie has a limited life span of one year.

On privacy

  • Cookies are not the only way to track an internet user. Modern methods use just Javascript (no cookies or other markers involved), as with the Facebook 'like' button, and leave no data on the user's browser.

  • Furthermore, your browser itself can be used to uniquely identify you.
    Go to this site and press the Test button to set how much information, other than from cookies, is available from your browser.

  • An article from September 2015 shows how much is harvested already by a UK government intelligence agency.
    Cookie privacy breaches are small beer by comparison.

More detailed information on the EU ePrivacy Directive

  • EU Directive 2002/58/EC (EU ePrivacy Directive) includes Article 5(3) that refers to 'cookies'.
    Article 5(3) is currently (September, 2015)

    'Member States shall ensure that the use of electronic communications networks to store information or to gain access to information stored in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned is provided with clear and comprehensive information in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC, inter alia about the purposes of the processing, and is offered the right to refuse such processing by the data controller. This shall not prevent any technical storage or access for the sole purpose of carrying out or facilitating the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network, or as strictly necessary in order to provide an information society service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user.'

  • The banner can confuse users and does nothing, actually, to improve your privacy.

  • Your answer, whether yes or no, is also stored on your device as a cookie (!).

  • This law appears to have less to do with concern about internet end-users, and more to do with the EU's paranoia about not being able to control what is published on the Internet.

    For web site owners and managers, the law is unclear, its demanding requirements having changed several times. If these requirements are not complied with, the maximum fine is 30,000 € "per infringement", otherwise known as per page. Thus, this fuzzy law can easily be subverted by the EUSSR to shut down any web site whose content they decide is too critical, or even subversive. Note that although this is an EU directive, different countries within the EU are applying it differently. It is not that clear how this law applies to web sites that are not domiciled within the EU, but could be accessed by visitors based in the EU. What a tangle!

    This article describes the first cookie law fines that have been imposed, in Spain.
    "Reading the decision one gets the impression that the companies fined tried hard to cooperate and get things right. At the time the investigation started, most of the websites did not include any information about the use of cookies. By the time the investigation finished the companies had made a number attempts to satisfy the relevant transparency and consent requirements. These were not considered sufficient to meet the standard of compliance that the Spanish DPA seeks."
    This is reminiscent of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, arbitrarily shouting "Off with their head", of the trial of Alice herself, and even Kafka's The Trial.

More detailed information on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Since 25 May 2018, in addition to the requirements of the EU ePrivacy Directive asking the consent of users in the European Economic Area (EEA) for the use of cookies or other local storage where legally required, and for the collection, sharing and use of personal data for ads personalisation, consent is further required to confirm to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

As a result, abelard.org has decided to only allow Google Inc. to display non-personalised ads (NPA) on our web sites. This what Google Inc. says about NPA:

"Non-personalised ads are targeted using contextual information rather than the past behaviour of a user. Contextual information includs coarse (such as city-level) geo-targeting based on current location and content on the current site or app or current query terms. Google disallows all personalised targeting, including demographic targeting and user list targeting.

"Although non-personalised ads don’t use cookies or mobile ad identifiers for ad targeting, they do still use cookies or mobile ad identifiers for frequency capping, aggregated ad reporting and to combat fraud and abuse.Consent is therefore required to use cookies for those purposes from users in countries to which the EU ePrivacy Directive’s cookie provisions apply."

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