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Cookies and Session IDs (what they are and why they are used)



A Cookie is a small amount of data sent by a website and temporarely stored on your computer which is returned to the server on subsequent page visits. On SPRACI cookies are used to store a session ID (for logins and associated services) and the area or section of the website last visited (to aid in site navigation).

The Session ID (often appearing as "ucode", "sid", "sessionid" or "session" in urls and cookies) is used so the software on the server can find a bit of data about a current user session temporarely stored on the server that is needed to check if you are logged in (such as your username, whether you are logged in, your ip, information abut your browser (to prevent "session hijacking" and other related security risks), the time the session started, the city/area/board/section of spraci being used (to help with site navigation), user preferences and other information that may from time to time be required to provide a service (such as temporary contents of a shopping cart, etc). This information is not passed on to any other sites or organisations.

Using a session id avoids having to pass such information to/from the browser each time you go to another page.
This means that most session related information about the user is not visible to anyone outside of spraci via urls, cookies, referrers, etc (yes they may be able to see the session id itself but that is meaningless without the associated data and even on spraci's server it is only temporarely associated with that data while the session is still active.)

Almost all sites with logins use methods similar to this to handle data required to identify a user and provide services.
(though many only use cookies to send a session id to/from the browser and as a result they may not be visible the urls.

The reason they often appear in urls here is because spraci uses more than one domain and cookies are not visible across domains and also because some browsers may not return cookies reliably. The default settings in IE6 tend to block all cookies if any part of a page, even if its only an image, is loaded from another domain and there is little SPRACI or any site admin can do about it except ask users to check their browser settings and where possible pass the session id from one page to another in the url or form.

You may find some other sites with multiple domains may have very small images on them which send you cookies from one of their own domains to try to maintain a session when you go from one of their domains to another. Such cookies are nothing to worry about but will also be blocked by the default settings in IE6. So if logins work properly on such sites with your current browser settings then they should work correctly here also.

Most browsers will let you view what cookies are on your computer and will allow you to delete any you are worried about. (look for something like "options->privacy" in your browser menus)

SPRACI does not pass on personal contact information (such as email addresses, phone numbers, etc) about users to anyone without first requesting the user's permission unless required to do so by law (to do so would not only be disrespectful to our users but would also be illegal).



If you have any questions you would like to see in here please contact us

 



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