homepages.inf and groups.inf cookie crawl

To further track down possible use of cookies within Informatics, and to make sure we comply with the current legislation *, we’ve searched the homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk file space and the groups.inf.ed.ac.uk (and similar) file space for files containing the word “cookie” and “google-analytics.com/ga.js”. The latter being an example of something that generates “first party” cookies.

Below are two authenticated links to scripts I’ve created that will show you any files that have been identified as being owned by you. Where the original owner is no longer available, then I’ve looked at the group ownership or ownership of the parent directory.

Please visit both links to see if there are any files that you are responsible for, and take any action required to make sure you comply with the legislation.


The search isn’t fool proof and may have generated some false positives. If there are files listed you know nothing about, or someone else is responsible for them, then please let me know – neilb@inf.

* Our interpretation of the legislation is this – If you are setting cookies to track a user, then you must get their consent first, or not set the cookies if they do not give it. Cookies which are strictly necessary for the function of the site are permissible without consent. Cookies used for anonymous performance gathering are permissible without consent. Regardless of all of the above, if you are using cookies, you must a have “cookies” link on every page that uses cookies, explaining why you are setting them, and what they used are for. For “cookies” read – any technology that allows you to track users.

About neilb

Computing staff at the University of Edinburgh. Part of the Services Unit.
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One Response to homepages.inf and groups.inf cookie crawl

  1. neilb says:

    A few extra things.

    I should have said that I did get Head Of School’s permission before grepping through the filespace.

    The most common query seems to be about Google Analytics. If you wish to keep using GA, then the current guidance from the University is that you can do so without obtaining prior consent, BUT you DO need to inform the user on every page that uses GA that you are doing so. See the University’s page explaining their use to users. http://www.ed.ac.uk/about/website/privacy/performance-cookies

    Yes, I know a bunch of our sites are not (yet) compliant. They will be soon!

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