A German artist has come up with this rendering of what a national Facebook ID card might look like.
My friends are divided on Facebook's presence in their everyday lives. Half are happy to sign up for every game or calendar and use Facebook Connect as a proxy for signing in to many other sites. The others have all their privacy settings set to max. If the general population feels the same way, then at least 50 percent of you are going to freak at the idea of a Facebook identity card.
The idea of a Facebook ID that could one day replace a driver's license or a national identity card is being proposed by German Internet artist Tobias Leingruber. His card looks like a mini version of your page — complete with your photo, name, user name, Facebook country code, your unique Facebook user ID and a QR code linking you to your Facebook page.
This Facebook ID card is currently just an artist's statement on the incredible amount of personal data that travels the web everyday.
According to his website he states, "Governments like Germany have released new passports that offer online identity checks as well, but they will likely never succeed with their technologies given the already existing structure of Facebook, powered by laziness (or convenience). The other way around though — A future where a Facebook identity becomes more important than any governments' doesn't seem unrealistic. This possible future is already half-way there."
What's not clear about the statement he is making with his Facebook ID cards is whether he just offering a critique on government intervention in data collection and online identities. Or is he making a subtle jab at Facebook's omnipresence as well?
Leingruber argues, "The user's next batter is about nothing less but who controls your identity, and we still might have something to say about it."
It seems he believes that by adopting his Facebook ID card, users can make a statement against the government intervention in data collection. The card, to him, would be a users' choice to regain control.
Given how much Facebook knows about us — even with privacy settings on full — it may not be as much control as we'd like. Facebook knows what music we listen to, what articles we've read and what our shopping habits are. It's likely someone could find out as much interesting information about a person from their Facebook ID as they could from whatever file the government is building.
So far the only real choice I can see is the fact that at least you get to choose your own photo on Facebook…though there are likely to be those drunk bachelorette party shots out there too.
Who knows? There may be so many of us out there either so pissed off at our government or simply conditioned to having Facebook as part of our every day lives, these IDs might actually take off.
For now, if you want one you check out Leingruber's site.