What is a Tracking technology?
A tracking technology is a mechanism allowing the website to monitor and measure user behavior and interest for multiple purposes. Some are necessary for internet operation and functioning, performance measures, load balancing, or maintenance; some others provide services to the user for context and behavior-based customization, some may also be used for marketing purposes and profiling.
There are different types of online tracking technologies used on the internet as summarized below. The most common online tracking technology used today is called “Cookies”. This policy is intended to apply broadly to all types of online tracking technologies, including Cookies. All rules and practices listed in this document apply in similar ways for these other technologies even if the term “cookies” is used.
A cookie is a small data file, typically a text file of letters and numbers, that is placed by either our web sites (these are called “first party cookies”) or by other web sites that provide the content or features on the web page that you are viewing (these are called “third party cookies”). Cookies are sent by the web servers for our web sites, or by the web servers for the third party content provided on our sites, and are stored on your computer or device. Your device can be, but not limited to a personal computer, mobile device, personal assistant, or an Internet-connected smart TV.
Cookies enable the web site that set the cookie to store small bits of information on your computer and retrieve that information at a later time. Unlike flash cookies, which we describe below, each cookie is unique to the web browser you are using on your computer or mobile device, so if you visit our web sites from multiple devices or multiple web browsers, our web sites will set separate cookies on each device and browser.
Other technologies that perform functions similar to cookies include:
- Single-pixel tags, which also are known as web beacons, web tags and clear GIFs, are graphics that function similar to cookies. The tags are not visible when viewing a web page or email because of their small size. Web beacons work by sending information along with the request to the web server with the image.
- ETags are unique values used for web page caching that allow a web site visitor to be recognized in subsequent visits.
- Scripts are code that is embedded into some of our web pages that provides certain information about your web browser to the code provider when you visit those web pages.
Our web sites that use Adobe Flash Player to deliver media content, such as video clips, use a different cookie called a flash cookie, also known as a local shared object. Flash cookies are used by the Adobe Flash Player and can contain not only the type of information stored in other cookies, but also information specific to Adobe Flash Player, such as where a video stopped playing on your device. Flash cookies are also capable of storing more information than other cookies. Flash cookies are also different from other cookies in that they are able to share information among different web browsers on your device. We only use Flash Cookies to enhance the user experience when we deliver rich content such as video clips. Users who wish to disable these types of cookies can do so as described below. We do not use Fingerprinting technologies.
As explained above, tracking technologies, like cookies, are used for multiple purposes ranging for strictly necessary ones used for web site operation to others which help us to improve your experience and customize content provided to you. Cookies may serve many functions. They can help remember your user name and preferences, analyze how well our web sites are performing, and enable us to recommend content that we believe may be most relevant to you. Most cookies identify your device’s web browser rather than identifying you personally, however, as described further below, certain cookies can be linked to other personal information we collect from or about you.
We use both session cookies, which are temporary cookies that are erased from your device’s memory when you close your Internet browser or turn your computer off, and persistent cookies, which are stored on your device until they expire, unless you delete them before that time.
Session cookies enable our web sites to remember your preferences on our web sites during the duration of your visit to our web site and until you close your web browser, such as whether you have identified yourself as a health care professional or a resident of a particular country.
What categories of cookies do we use and what are your options to control them?
We have grouped the cookies our web sites use into five categories to help you understand the purposes for which they are used and the options you have to control them. We describe these tracking categories and your available choices to control them below. Many of our web sites provide a cookie preferences tool for directly controlling the cookies used by those sites. The tool is accessible on those sites by clicking on a button or banner labeled “Cookies” or “Cookie Preferences”.
Other types of Tracking technologies are controlled differently than are cookies. These can be summarized:
- Flash cookies are controlled separately from other types of cookies, so even if you have specified the cookie settings in your web browser, if you want to control flash cookies, you will need to follow the instructions provided by Adobe for managing these cookies through its Settings Manager.
- ETags also are controlled separately from flash cookies, other types of cookies and scripts. In order to remove ETags, you also need to clear your web browser cache.
Our Cookie Categories
How These Cookies Are Used
(may also be referred to as “Required”)
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
Since these cookies are strictly necessary for certain of our web sites to operate and function, our cookie preferences tools do not enable you to control these cookies. If you set your browser not to accept them, you will not be able to use the sections of our web sites that depend on them.
(may also be referred to as “Site Experience”)
These cookies enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, then some or all of these services may not function properly.
Like Strictly Necessary cookies, our sites depend on Functional cookies in order to deliver content and features that you request when using our web sites. You can control the use of these cookies either by electing not to designate certain preferences offered on our web sites, or by controlling these cookies through your browser settings as described above. Third party cookies could be used for authentication or server balancing capabilities, but not for marketing purposes. If you set your browser not to accept these cookies, certain functionality on our web sites may not work.
(may also be referred to as “Operational”)
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information collected by these cookies is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If users do not allow these cookies we will not know when users have visited our site and will not be able to monitor its performance.
(may also be referred to as “Advertising”)
These cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant advertising on other sites. They do not store directly personal information but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.
These cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building a profile of your interests. This may impact the content, suggestions, and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.
How can you manage cookies?
The choices that end users have for managing cookies preferences are outlined in the table above. Certain cookies, such as Strictly Necessary and Functional Cookies are always turned on. Other cookies, such as Performance, Targeting, and Social Media Cookies are configurable by the end user. In many countries, we deploy cookie preference tools to facilitate end user configurations and choices. Where used, these tools will display prominently on a user’s first visit, whenever you clear your cookie cache, or anytime via a prominent Cookie Panel button. In other countries, end users may elect to block cookies in their browser settings or as described below.
According to the laws and regulations of your country (including European e-Privacy Directive, GDPR, and other applicable national laws), cookies other than the Strictly Necessary and the Functional ones may need your active consent.
Most web browsers enable users to manage preferences for cookies. If you set your browser not to accept cookies, you may not be able to use some sections of our web sites that depend on Strictly Necessary and Functional cookies.
Are there other ways to control third party cookies and other tracking technologies?
If you would like to opt-out of or limit the cookies set by other companies who deliver e-mail communications on our behalf or place our advertisements on other web sites, you may do so by following the options provided by:
- Network Advertising Initiative at: https://optout.networkadvertising.org/
- European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance at: http://youronlinechoices.eu (if you are located in the EU)
- Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA)’s self-regulatory opt-out page at: https://optout.aboutads.info/ and mobile application-based “AppChoices” download page at: https://youradchoices.com/appchoices
- Some browser add-ons may also provide tracking technologies management functionalities. Consult your browser extensions to know which ones are available for your browser and how to install them.
For mobile devices, users typically configure their tracking preferences either during initial set up of individual applications or within the application themselves post installation.
Some internet browsers have incorporated “Do Not Track” features. Most of these features, when turned on, send a signal or preference to the web sites you visit indicating that you do not wish to be tracked (“DNT-signal”). As reflected throughout this Policy, we are committed to providing you with meaningful choices about the information collected on our website for third party purposes, and that is why we provide the variety of opt-out mechanisms described in our cookie panel, where deployed. In addition, where we deploy a cookie panel, it is designed to identify a browser-initiated DNT-signal and apply it to the cookie settings per your preferences. However, despite our best efforts, this may not function for all browsers. Using the cookie banner settings will ensure that your preferences are appropriately reflected.
Despite the protections described above, whether we deploy a cookie panel or not in your market, we do not currently recognize or respond directly to browser initiated DNT signals.
How will I know whether this Global Online Tracking Policy has been updated?
We may update this Policy periodically in response to changing laws, regulations and industry practices. We reserve the right to modify, add or remove portions of this Policy at our discretion. If we decide to change this Policy, we will post the updated version on www.msdprivacy.com. If the changes are material, we will post the changes prior to the effective date of the change.
1Throughout this policy, our references to “MSD,” “us,” “we,” and “our” means Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA, its successors, subsidiaries, divisions and groups worldwide, excluding joint ventures to which we are a party.