Google has stopped asking parents to give the last four digit's of their child's social security number and other personal information as a requirement for participating in the 'Doodle 4 Google' contest.
The move comes after the search engine giant was criticised by security and privacy organisations, who claimed that it is easy for someone to guess the identity of a person by analysing the last four SSN digits, year of birth and city of birth.
According to The Huffington Post, Bob Bowdon, who has made a documentary on corruption in public schools, claims that someone could easily guess the complete social security number using other personal information and create a fictitious new person to conduct bank fraud.
“To be clear, all data concerning students that is collected by Doodle 4 Google is used only to administer the contest.The last 4 digits of the social security number were not entered into our contest records, and any forms containing this information will be safely discarded,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
Another worry expressed by Bowdon in an article in a New York magazine, was that Google might sell the information to marketers. Responding to this criticism Google representative, Jay Nancarrow, said that the claims were "unfounded" and "speculative".