What Are Cookies?

Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer’s hard drive or memory through your Web browser if you allow that. Cookies enable the site’s or service provider’s systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. They are a tracking mechanism that can be used to track your movement within the web site, upon return to the web site after disconnecting from it, or across the Internet as you move from one web site to another.

Each cookie has a web site address associated with it. Your browser is supposed to only allow a web site to access its own cookies. Never cookies set by a different site. But you should be aware that if a cookie was set by an advertising site, for example, and you later click on an advertisement from that site the cookie will be visible to the advertisement. These are third-party cookies and they can be used to track your browsing history across the Internet.

There are other similar web technologies that achieve similar things. Among them are:

Local storage: This is data stored locally on your hard drive through the browser. This is very similar to cookies and is used for very similar purposes but has the advantage of being able to store large amounts of data. One use is to save relatively large chunks of data that would otherwise have to be downloaded repeatedly from the web server. We make very little use of local storage but may use it at times. If cookies are disabled on your browser but local storage is not we will store the equivalent of the site ID cookie (described below) in local storage.

Flash Storage: This is a type of local storage associated with the Adobe Flash Player. We do not use this ever for site purposes. However, if you play a Flash video on the site the Flash software may use it.

Web Beacons: Web beacons, pixel tags, clear GIFs, or a few other names refer to either a graphic “image” that is typically a 1×1 pixel in size or a small snippet of code. These are embedded in a web page or email and are completely invisible to you. The beacon effectively spies on you because every time you open the web page or email where it is located it reports the fact along with information about you and your location to its owner. This is a major way that web sites track you across the Internet. We never use this technique at all.

You can find a good information on cookies here: Wikipedia: HTTP cookie

How Do We Use Cookies?

  • Establish your identity when you connect to the site but have not logged in to an account.
  • Manage the transitions you make from page to page within the site so the web server software does not lose track of your identity. (The software cannot function correctly without this.)
  • Avoid having to ask you over and over and over again to give consent or to acknowledge some requirement of the site. (Ask once, store it in a cookie, and don’t ask again every time you click on something.)
  • Track site security functions. This is performed by the Wordfence web security plugin.
  • Help remember and process the items in the shopping cart.
  • Understand and save user’s preferences for future visits.
  • Keep track of advertisements.
  • Compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interactions in order to offer better site experiences and tools in the future.
  • Ensure that we have your consent for something or the fact that you have acknowledged something that we are obligated to track.

How Don’t We Use Cookies?

We don’t use cookies to track you all over the Internet. Our tracking is all internal to the site. When you leave the site we don’t know or care where you go or what you do. That is your business, not ours.

The only aspect that might seem a little like tracking across the Internet (but is not) is the establishment of identity when you first connect. If you have visited the site previously and have an ID cookie from the previous session the site will be able to effectively continue the previous session remembering your consents, acknowledgements, preferences, etc. even though you have not logged on to a site account. This is still a completely “within the site” and not “across the Internet” process.

Your Control Over Cookies

You can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent (depending on your browser), or you can choose to turn off all cookies. You do this through your browser settings or sometimes through plugins. Since each browser is a little different, look at your browser’s Help Menu to learn the correct way to modify it’s cookie behavior. We can give you a little help on that for the following common browsers:

  1. Microsoft Edge
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari on iPhone, iPad, or iPod
  5. Safari on macOS

If users disable cookies in their browser:

If you turn cookies off, some site features will be disabled or will not function correctly. Some of the features that make your site experience more efficient and enjoyable may not function properly or at all. However, you will still be able to use the site to some extent. It is likely that you will be asked repeatedly to give consent and/or acknowledge some aspect of use of the site and this is irritating at best. There is not much we can do about this because we just do have any other way to keep track of all these things. Some are technical mechanisms built into the web server software, some are important feature enhancers, some are implementations of our legitimate interests in operating the site, and some of them are legal obligations.

We hope that you will not turn off cookies in your browser because of the negative impacts it would have on your site experience. Not just this site but many, many other sites also. If you feel that you need to turn off cookies in the browser we hope that you will consider putting this site on the white list so that it will still be able to use cookies. We take your privacy seriously and do the best we can to give you a great site experience without putting your personal information at risk.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are ones that are dropped on your browser via our site but that belong to a different web site (the third-party). We are making maximum effort to eliminate the creation of third-party cookies. We have had to delete or re-configure site plugins to control this. You will also notice that we do not have any of those convenient Facebook/Twitter/Etc sharing buttons. We lose out on social shares, right? Right. But those sharing buttons create third-party cookies that we do not want to be dropping on your browser. That is why the sharing buttons are not there.

What Cookies Do We Use?

The following are the cookies currently visible to the server:

The following are types of cookies we and what we use them for:

Identity Cookies

These are cookies that are used to establish and track your identity as a unique visitor on the site. The Site ID Cookie is described in detail below. This is the only long term identity cookie that we use.

Security Cookies

These are cookies generated by the Wordfence Web Application Firewall security plugin that helps keep the site safe from hackers. These are short term cookies that will expire within 24 hours. For details on what cookies Wordfence sets and uses you can review the following page:

Wordfence and GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation

WordPress Session Cookies

These are cookies that the WordPress web server software uses to manage your activity and navigation on the site. These are built in to WordPress and it cannot function in a completely correct manner without them.These cookies do track your identity on the site if you are logged in. These are secure cookies that can only be transmitted over an encrypted connection.

A session cookie is one that is created with no expiration date (effectively a date in the past) and which is normally stored in memory only and not on your hard drive. That means that as soon as you close your browser these cookies cease to exist.

Moodle Session Cookies

Moodle session cookies are basically the same thing as WordPress session cookies except they are created and used by the Moodle learning environment software when you login to the UFearless.Net Learning Center (UFNLC).

Consent Cookies

These are long term cookies that record your consent to some data collection and/or processing on the site. Our current use of consent cookies is for acceptance of the cookie policy.

Popup Control Cookies

These are short to very long term cookies used to prevent popups from showing every time you visit the site. Each popup or category of popups has a control cookie that blocks it from showing when the cookie is present and not expired. If these cookies are deleted or prevented from being created in the first place the popups will not be blocked resulting in what can be a very excessive number and frequency of them.

The Site ID Cookie

The primary cookie we use to “identify” visitors who are not logged in is a site ID cookie. This is the key data item that is used to tie together the elements of your identity when not logged in. The first time you ever visit the site or the first time after clearing cookies or deleting this cookie (more on this below) a new site ID cookie will be generated and stored on the device you are using to access the site. As long as it is not deleted, every time you visit the site it will be recognized and used to re-establish your identity. This is just identity as a unique visitor. The cookie does not know your name, phone number, address or any of that kind of identity info. It just knows that you are a unique visitor who has been here before and about whom the system should hold some data.

The site ID cookie is like a kind of glue that binds together your different sessions on the site from the same device and, if you want it to, across different devices. It greatly facilitates your experience on the site and our ability to deliver a better, more personalized, experience to you.

What if the site ID cookie gets deleted?

If this cookie gets deleted then the next time you visit the site, until you login to an account, you are a new anonymous visitor. All necessary consents and acknowledgements for use of the site have to be gathered from you, normally through pop ups, even though you might have done all that previously under the old cookie. This may be irritating but in this case we cannot identify you so we have to assume you are someone we have never seen before.

If you then login to your account we will have your real identity through the login and the site ID cookie will be restored to its correct value for you.

If you do not have a login account but your email address has been previously captured in some way such as signing up for the email newsletter you can use the Restore Site ID item in the Options menu to get your site ID cookie restored. You will enter the email address that you have on record in the system. If that address is found in the database an email will be sent to it with a link you can use to restore your old site ID cookie.

This same process can be used to synchronize your site ID cookies on different devices you use to access the site as long as you can receive the email on each device. If the email approach will not work then you would need a login account and use it on each device. If you do this you will be successfully recognized by the site as the same person on all devices you access it from even when you do not login.

Policy Update History

This policy will updated periodically. The following is the list of dates of update and synopsis of what changes were made:

24 May 2018: Initial cookie policy published.