Why did Google collect kids' social security numbers?

Google has been doing something rather deceptive for a company whose motto is "don't be evil". Under the cover over their "Doodle-4-Google" the company has been collecting the last 4 digits of each entrant's (read child's) social security number. Which is a bit odd considering that this was apart of the entry form for the contest.

The Huffington Post uncovered this oddity and raised the alarming question to Google. While they did not respond directly, the did take that question off of the entry form. Google was only collecting the last 4 digits but it is possible to figure out the first 5, with your date of birth and birth city, both of which were on the form as well.  The Huffington Post goes on to say that:

Of course, data collection is not the reason Google gives for doing this competition. Their FAQ says it's because "We love to encourage and celebrate the creativity of young people..." etc. If that's so, then why on earth would the contest's original Parent Consent Form ask for the child's city of birth, date of birth and last four digits of the child's SSN?  Along with complete contact info of the parents. 

The only real reason Google would need a social security number is if the prizes were valued over $600.00 and needed to report them for tax purposes. Even if that is true, why wouldn't Google contact the winners and only get their information, rather than everyone who entered the contest?

 

 

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