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‘Cookie’ caution wins ‘People’s Prize’ for Aberystwyth student

Computer Science student Jasmine Kam, winner of the ‘People’s Prize’ at BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium 2024.

An Aberystwyth University student has urged computer users to “think before you click” when asked to accept online cookies.

Second year computer science student Jasmine Kam has been studying the possible effects of accepting browser cookies, small text files which are transferred to computers or mobiles when visiting a website or app.

Jasmine presented her work at the 2024 BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, the UK’s national conference for women and non-binary computing students.

This conference is organised by BCSWomen, the women in technology group of the BCS, The Chartered Institute of IT, and was hosted this year by Liverpool University.

Jasmine’s poster, ‘So…cookies aren’t yummy?’, warned against the dangers of accepting cookies and possible consequences for web users.

Of the 170 finalists invited to Liverpool to present their work, Jasmine’s presentation was voted the winner of the People’s Prize by delegates at the conference.

Speaking of her success, Jasmine said: “It was great to be presented with the People’s Prize. Everyone at the conference was given three stickers to mark their favourite posters and so I knew I had collected a few, so my heart was pounding as the announcement was made.”

“When talking about cookies, I’ve noticed how people always accepted them, but during my conversations at the conference there was a realisation that they really shouldn’t accept all cookies all of the time. My advice is for users to manage their preferences: accepting the wrong cookies could lead to having malware or a virus on a computer or even identity theft, as well as being plagued by phishing e-mails.

“I got the feeling that my poster made people think about what they do – think before you click”.

Now in its 17th year, the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium was established in 2008 by Dr Hannah Dee, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Aberystwyth University.

Prompted by Dr Dee’s experience of being “the only woman in the room” at a research conference in 2004, the conference bear’s the name of the mathematician Ada, Countess of Lovelace, who is known as the world’s first computer programmer.

“The Lovelace conference is so important for women studying STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) as it gives us an opportunity to represent ourselves and voice our own opinions which, maybe, would have been hidden within ourselves in the past. We can now speak about what we think openly, and that can only be a good thing”, said Jasmine who was attending the conference for the second time.

Originally from Manchester, Jasmine is studying for a degree in Computer Science.

As part of the programme she will be spending her year in industry working in London with the Swiss based bank UBS Group AG where she hopes to learn more about the software aspect of wealth and asset management.

A keen computer gamer, Jasmine was initially unsure whether university was for her.

“At Aber I think I’m on the right path and university will certainly open doors for me, there are so many opportunities. It’s also been great to meet so many new people here and it’s very diverse, much more diverse than I had expected.”

Jasmine is studying the four year BSc in Computer Science with integrated a year in industry. The course is accredited by the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) on behalf of the Engineering Council.