Friday, 16 June 2017

15 things you’ll know if you’ve been to the University of Hertfordshire

At the University of Hertfordshire the student experience is more than just studying, we love our food and our nights out too! Social Street Team member Tamsin breaks down her 15 things you'd know if you've been here...

1. Tickets for the forum sell out faster than you can say “Hertfordshire”.

It’ll be two weeks before the biggest cheeky Wednesday night of the year and the tickets are sold out but there’s always be one geezer trying to sell tickets for £60.

2. Everybody loves the Forum Restaurant chicken.

You can get a massive range of food from all different area of the world from the restaurants, or you can join most students and get the chicken and rice because you can’t beat it really.

3. The shuttle bus journey after a night out is sometimes more fun than the night out itself.

You’d never think a 3am shuttle ride lasting about 5 minutes would be interesting but you experience some weird and wonderful things during that time.

4. When you meet new people there’s a 99% chance they either do Aerospace engineering or motorsport.

5. When anybody asks, you say go to a University “near London”.

Let’s admit it, it’s just easier and it basically is, right?

6. Everybody wants to come visit you in Hatfield whenever Slam Dunk/J Hus comes to the Forum.

Suddenly everybody has been “wanting to come up to visit” for ages and Hatfield becomes the number 1 destination to be.

7. The guy in the pancake hut from outside the Forum has changed your life.

He’s open after nights out AND he takes card payment, win/win.

8. You meet the weirdest people in the Forum toilets.

9. You’ve literally seen other people wearing Go Herts/AU hoodies in your hometown.

They’re everywhere.

10. Meeting randomers at the MacDonald’s walk-through after a night out is essential.

Nobody else can quiet believe the miracle that is the tiny little window of chicken nugget heaven after a night out.

11. You know you’re in for a good night when the Forum cracks out the fire breathing dancers.  

Seriously, how do they do it?

12. An Oceana/Prysm night out and the bus ride back, is an experience you’ll never forget.  

Don’t forget the detour to “the wall” after the bus journey (if you know, you know).

13. 80% of people you know live “somewhere” behind de Hav. 

We got to admit some of the nicest houses are down there so we can’t blame them.

14. See everyone you know in ASDA before a night out.

Clearly everybody else has the right idea to get the £12 bottle of vodka while it’s an offer.

15. The highlight of Hatfield is Harpsfield Hall.  

How did we ever survive without a pitcher of Pornstar Martini at 'Spoons?


A little bit about me… I’m Tamsin, a member of your new University Social Media Street Team. I currently have a lifestyle and beauty blog, and I am currently a second year Biomedical Science student. I’m a pretty bubbly person, so if you see me around say hi! Visit my blog if you like random posts about anything, from makeup to political matters and everything in between.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

People are going to court over dead family members' Facebook pages – it's time for post-mortem privacy

File 20170602 20575 44ky55      
Edina Harbinja, University of Hertfordshire
The grieving parents of a dead teenager in Germany were recently denied access to their daughter’s Facebook account. They wanted to read the profile page to see if she was being bullied, but the social network argued that doing so would compromise the privacy of her contacts – and a judge agreed. None of this, however, takes into account what the girl would have wanted.

As you share more of your personal information, communications and photographs online, there is a growing risk that one day your sentimental keepsakes could be locked up for ever. Or, on the other hand, that your family, friends or heirs may gain unwanted access to intimate records. It’s time for the law to offer the same protection to our online property as it does to our physical possessions.

In most countries’ legal systems, individuals have the right to decide what happens to their wealth and assets when they die. This is the long-established principle of testamentary freedom – that is, freedom to make a will and bequeath your assets to (arguably) whomever you wish. This principle is underpinned by Western ideas of autonomy and free will, established in works of philosophers such as John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Immanuel Kant or Jeremy Bentham.

In my research, I argue that this same autonomy and freedom should extend online and enable individuals to decide what happens to their online “wealth” (mainly their personal data) when they die. Only 38% of people surveyed in England and Wales in 2015 had a will, meaning most people hadn’t made legal provisions for their deaths. Yet we still think the law should offer this protection. So even if most people don’t care about protecting their online data after they die, in principle there should still be a way for someone to do so.

My colleague Prof Lilian Edwards and I believe there should be a mechanism to address this inconsistency that we would call post-mortem privacy. This refers to the right of a person to preserve and control what becomes of his or her reputation, dignity, integrity, secrets or memory after death.

Current protection

At the moment, this kind of protection varies around the world and, in most jurisdictions’ succession laws, families have a default access to a deceased person’s memories and data. Service providers already permit some of this, too. For instance, this means that families can ask for Facebook accounts to be deleted or for access to some of the content (but not private chats). They can also request the profile be turned into a memorial.

Would you want your parents to see all your messages? Shutterstock

But users might not want their families to have these powers and instead might want control over the very sensitive personal content found on some social media profiles and the digital identity that goes with it. The legal recognition of post-mortem privacy would enable users to decide what happens to their data after death. They could request full or partial deletion, transfer of some of their data to friends or family, or some other option.
This concept has so far received little attention in law – especially in common-law systems, such as in England, where legal decisions depend partly on previous judgments. Common-law system have historically been much less inclined to protect personalty and privacy rights than civil law systems. This is particularly true for the post-mortem protection of one’s personality. In fact, the UK law expressly excludes this protection. But there have also been some very exciting recent changes in the US and France.

Legal models

The model law adopted by several states in the US suggests that the user should have a right to choose what happens to their data and assets on death. If people express this wish using technology, for example with something like Google’s Inactive Account Manager tool, then that should override even provisions of their will.

A similar solution has recently been adopted in France in the Digital Republic Act 2016. This would mean that, for the first time in Europe, the law could recognise the use of software tools for the post-mortem transmission of digital assets, such as Google Inactive Account Manager or Facebook Legacy Contact, similar to the American legislation mentioned above.

These tools within the services where we store our data allow users to choose whether they want their accounts entirely deleted after they die or to leave some of their data to chosen beneficiaries (typically their friends or family). Although these tools have been available for a few years with, anecdotally, relatively little uptake, the fact they have been adopted by some of the world’s biggest service providers suggests post-mortem privacy is not seen as obscure, creepy or impossible anymore. There are already some practical and legal mechanisms to recognise and enforce it.
The ConversationBut to further clarify this legally and ensure more people have access to this kind of service, post-mortem privacy should be recognised in other countries’ data protection laws where personal data isn’t currently protected after death, for instance in the EU. Without it, we can expect to see many more battles over our online heirlooms.

Edina Harbinja, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Hertfordshire
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Why Forgiveness Matters

What does it mean to forgive people, and when should we forgive them? When is it right – if ever - to forgive those who are not sorry or repentant? The long tradition of reflection about forgiveness in world religions has been complemented in recent years by a growing interest in the topic from both philosophers and psychologists. Counsellors, clergy and interested members of the public met in St Albans on Saturday 13th May to discuss this topic at a day workshop organized by the University of Hertfordshire Philosophy Department in association with St Albans Cathedral Study Centre. The workshop consisted of three presentations - by a philosopher, a theologian and a psychologist - and a general discussion on the topic of forgiveness.

Professor John Lippitt (Hertfordshire) introduced the day and set the scene with a talk entitled “Philosophical Approaches to Forgiveness; Forgiveness as a ‘work of love’?” The talk introduced some of the key questions raised by philosophers who have written on forgiveness in recent years. After raising the basic question of what forgiveness is (a speech act? a psychological process?), Lippitt introduced some important conceptual distinctions (for instance, between forgiveness, condonation and excuse); considered the question of whether forgiveness at its best should be conditional or unconditional; and began to explore what difference it might make to think of forgiveness as a “work of love” (to borrow a phrase from the Danish thinker Søren Kierkegaard). He stressed the importance of the connection between the disposition to forgive and other virtues or qualities of character such as hope, humility and empathetic understanding.

Building upon this, theologian Professor Anthony Bash (Durham) explored the biblical perspective in a talk entitled “Re-Imagining Biblical Forgiveness”. Through a careful look at key passages on forgiveness, particularly from the New Testament, Bash sought to dispel some common myths (for example regarding Jesus’ reported words on the cross) and to separate what those texts say from some of the other ideas that have grown up around them since they were written. He explored the differences between divine forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness between fellow humans. Bash stressed that in the biblical context, interpersonal forgiveness is typically about restored relationships, and that it needs to satisfy the demands of justice, as well as of mercy. For this reason, he expressed scepticism about unconditional forgiveness, arguing for the importance of prior repentance.

Psychologist Dr Liz Gulliford (Birmingham) explored “Psychological Approaches to Forgiveness: Practical Means to an Ethical End”. Gulliford focused primarily on psychological processes involved in forgiveness and on therapeutic means of promoting it. After addressing some popular distortions of the meaning of forgiveness that tend to inhibit people’s progress in forgiving others, she turned her attention to various psychological interventions that have been developed to facilitate forgiveness, focusing on those involving reframing the offender and on developing a sense of empathy. Some have criticised psychological approaches as focussing in an unhealthy way on the person seeking to forgive, and as construing forgiveness reductively as a means of maintaining mental equilibrium or improving well-being. Against this, Gulliford argued that while forgiveness is important for our mental health it is also central to the health of our relationships, and aimed to show that psychological insights can be fruitfully integrated with both religious and secular worldviews to offer practical insights to help realise forgiveness as an ethical ideal.

In discussion after each session and in the round-table that closed the day, questions raised included how to judge whether and when to forgive in the context of domestic violence, and the various “risks” of forgiveness. The unusually high quality of the questions suggested that the topic was one that spoke to people, one participant later commenting that “forgiveness is a much more subtle and nuanced area than I'd realised and seems highly relevant to the context of spiritual direction”. As a result of the day, John Lippitt – who is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Love’s Forgiveness – has been invited to give a follow-up session on “Forgiving oneself” as part of the St Albans Cathedral Study Centre’s public lecture series next year. Here he plans to explore conceptual and ethical questions arising from the concept of self-forgiveness.

“Why Forgiveness Matters” is part of Why Philosophy Matters, a series of public events organised by the University’s Philosophy Department in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing. Events take place in London and St Albans. For further details, see

Professor John Lippitt Philosophy Group School of Humanities