Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Protect your privacy online (K2 #8)

Question of the Week
My friend told me that any Facebook user can see my photos. Is this possible?
-- Rinchen Pem, P/Ling

Answer
Indeed, this is possible! Peak behind any laptop or office desktop these days and there’s a good chance you’ll be staring at a browser window displaying the famous Facebook “wall”. And if you're not careful about your privacy settings (see below), much of your information will be publicly visible. For good or bad, Facebook has become pervasive among Internet users in Bhutan. Drukpas share photos, create events, post notes, and update their status. And although Facebook requires its users to be at least 13 years old, many primary school students are on Facebook (Perhaps not a very good idea, but this might be a topic for another column).
I noticed that many of my Bhutanese colleagues and friends are not very concerned about their online privacy. While high levels of trust and openness in our “offline” life are beneficial, it is trickier online: your Facebook page can be viewed worldwide by people whom you do not know, and information that you created – your personal details, photos, and status updates – can be abused in various ways.
Facebook tip
Facebook users can tag an uploaded photo, that is, mark their friends who appear in the photo. While some users enjoy being tagged by their friends, others find it bothersome. Fortunately, there’s a way to untag yourself from a photo. When viewing the photo, look for the list of tagged friends. If you were tagged in the photo, you will find a “remove tag” link beside your name. Click it, and you’re untagged. Even better, no one will now be able to tag you in that same photo (although you might be tagged again in other photos).
Luckily, Facebook allows you to control how your information is shared with three types of users: “Friends Only”, “Friends of Friends”, and “Everyone”. In general, it is probably not a good idea to share information with “Everyone”. Also, you should think about what kind of information you want to share with “Friends Only” and “Friends of Friends”. To set your privacy options, go to www.facebook.com, click on “Account” at the top right corner, and select “Privacy Settings”. Under “Sharing on Facebook” you’ll be able to select how information is shared. A good initial setting is “Friends of Friends” or “Friends”. You can then further customize how the different items are shared.
I also recommend going over the different items under the “Connecting on Facebook” section and sharing your name, profile picture, gender and other personal information only with the people you want.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com