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Art Contest No Longer Requires SSNs

CHILDREN’S PRIVACY—U.S.

February 25, 2011

USA TODAY reports on Google's decision to stop asking children's parents to submit partial Social Security numbers (SSNs) for a drawing contest. "Doodle 4 Google" asked students in grades K through 12 to submit a drawing under the theme, "What I'd like to do today," and asked parents to submit information about their children, including the last four digits of their SSNs. Bob Bowdon, a documentary filmmaker, said birthdates and city of birth can be combined to "statistically guess" an SSN's first five digits. Consumer Watchdog wrote to Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) asking that they question Google on why it collected the SSNs and about its data storage and access policies.
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