From May 2012 onwards, the Information Commissoners Office (ICO) in the UK will begin enforcing laws introduced in the European Union last year. These laws dictate that websites utilising cookies - usually harmless strings of text stored on users’ computers or devices - must obtain consent from users, or else will face a fine of up to £500,000 GBP. These laws mean that we need to explain why we store cookies on your computer or device.

At most, we’ll directly store five cookies on your computer or device. One of these is created and updated whenever you read an article, and helps us discover how popular our articles are; another two are created when you log in in order to keep you logged in between sessions; another is a record of your session ID; the last defines whether or not you have seen the message at the bottom of the page advertising our use of cookies.

If you don’t want us to store cookies on your computer or device, you can disable this functionality through your browser configuration.You can find out more about blocking cookies in your browser’s documentation.