“Doodle 4 Google” Contest No Longer Needs Your Kid’s SSN

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Good news everyone: Thanks to the protests of parents and other activists who were worried that Google was using children’s social security numbers for nefarious activities, kids no longer need to provide the last four digits in order to enter the Doodle 4 Google contest.

To recap, New York Magazine pointed out that the first five social security numbers are assigned by birth location. By requiring children to add the last four digits to their application and their city of birth, someone could – arguably – guess the complete sequence. Bob Bowdon, director of a documentary about the corruption in the public school system called the The Cartel, wrote about the situation on his Huffington Post blog, questioning why children’s SS numbers were required for an art contest. He was afraid that Google could be mining the data and selling it to third parties.

Google issued this statement to New York Mag, explaining their actions:

This year we started accepting doodles from kids even if their school hadn’t registered for the contest. To help us keep entries distinct and remove duplicate entries from any particular student, we asked parents for limited information, including the last 4 digits of a student’s social security number. We later updated our forms when we recognized that we could sufficiently separate legitimate contest entries while requesting less information. To be clear, these last 4 digits were not entered into our records and will be safely discarded.

To learn more about last year’s competition, check out the video below:


[via USA Today]

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