A cookie is a small file sent to a visitor’s browser from a web server and stored on the computer's hard drive (or on the device used to access the website) to identify the visitor as the user of the website. Many internet sites use cookies. Typically it is used by the website to identify the person accessing the website, tracking the person’s use of the site, and tracking any repeat visits made by that person. This can assist the school/ETB in building up a profile of a visitor to their site and information relating to that user’s online habits. The rules governing the use of cookies are set out in the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011 (SI 336/2011). Failure to comply with these requirements is an offence which can attract fines and penalties.

Where a school/ETB places cookies on a user’s computer/smartphone, the school/ETB is required to give appropriate information to the website user and collect their consent (except in limited circumstances where the cookie is strictly necessary for the provision of the service in question.) The information given in the website’s Privacy Statement must be clear and comprehensive about the cookies being used and how they will be used.  For further guidance, see the Data Protection Commissioner's website