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Preview Google's Apology for Collecting Kids SS#s

See a preview below of Google's likely official public apology for collecting kids' partial Social Security #s and other private information -- without the permission of their parents.

Per Google's Official Blog:

"We are deeply sorry, very very sorry, and even oh-so-sorry for collecting partial social security numbers, date and place of birth on kindergartners and grade schoolers participating in the Doodle-4-Google contest.

  • We appreciate how collecting private info on young unsuspecting children could look creepy, because our CEO has pledged Google will 'get right up to the creepy line but not cross it.'
  • Rest assured we fixed this problem as soon as we learned the media caught on to what we were doing.
  • We pledge to work cooperatively with any authorities who investigate this latest Google 'mistake,' 'understandable inadvertent human error,' and 'tiny privacy boo boo,' as long as it does not require complying with any subpoenas.

Rest assured that Google is confident, in advance of investigating this matter internally, that this rogue doodle-engineer that sought to collect key identity profile information on kids, was working all alone, all by himself, talking to no one about what he was doing, so it is clear that no one else at Google could possibly have known that Google was collecting identity-profiling information on little kids...

  • ... Just like Google could know in advance of any internal Google investigation, that the lone Google engineer -- that programmed Google's 30 country Wi-Spy vehicle fleet that collected private wifi signals on tens of millions of people for three years -- was working all alone without any Google supervision, collaboration, or direction of any kind, and
  • ... Just like the Google engineer who was stalking teens using private information in Google's BigTable database, was working alone and totally without any Google supervision so Google could not be found culpable in any way.


Everyone knows that everything we do at Google is for users' benefit -- only.


  • If parents of Google-adoring-kids cannot appreciate that Google would never do anything that would undermine user trust, parents need to know that competition is a click away, no one is forcing them to use Google's cool free products and services, and that they can always legally change their kids names and/or move.
    • It is Google policy, that privacy and security are ultimately the responsibility of users and their parents, not Google's.


Once again please hear us and be calmed by our false humility, we are really really really sorry that we have gotten caught yet again violating people's normal expectations of privacy.


  • In the future, we will endeavor to not get caught again, because it is too bothersome, manpower-intensive, and buzz-killing to be responsible up front and prevent these serious privacy violations from occurring in the first place.


To appear proactive and responsible, and to help the FTC be timely in preemptively shutting down their investigation of this matter quickly, like it did 10-27-10 in closing the FTC WiSpy investigation before most anyone else, Google will re-pledge to:


  • Hire a deputy "director of (kids) privacy for engineering and product management;"
  • Add more "core privacy training for key employees;" and
  • For real this time, "incorporating a formal privacy review process in the design phase of new initiatives."


We believe these blog commitments should be more than enough to put this matter permanently to rest. So move along, there is nothing to see here.

Lastly, let us be clear, Google will vigorously protect the privacy of these children by resisting any state or Federal investigation or subpoenas into this matter, because this data could fall into the hands of people that Google does not trust.

Posted by: Google's imaginary user Ombudsman."