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Google came under heavy fire from critics and supporters alike, when it was discovered that a rogue piece of code in Google Maps' Street View cars allowed the collection of unencrypted wireless data, from houses and businesses as it drove by.
After Google admitted its mistake, through a data audit demanded by Germany's data protection authority, the company said it would not delete the data even though the British data protection agency said that it could be.
Google faces criminal investigations in Germany, and was only given a 'slap on the wrist' by British regulators. But Germany's data protection laws are far stricter, even though all EU countries read from the same European data protection directive.
Google bombing has gone down in history as the first unofficial and unintended 'Easter egg' of Google. Many have used it for reasons of political activism -- such as aligning the word "failure" to former U.S. president George W. Bush, along with many others.
But also have used it for commercial purposes, namely "spamdexing". This has opened Google up to abuse, proving that their algorithms are not infallible and are open to abuse.
Google's presence in China alone has been controversial. Even after Google was hacked by Chinese secret police, the company remained in the country but rerouted its servers to Hong Kong.
Some even claimed that Google "hacked the hackers", taking 'justice' into their own hands, instead of allowing the authorities to investigate. The hack allegedly discovered that over 30 other companies, including Adobe, were hacked.
Google remained in the country and continued to censor search results at the request of the Chinese government. This is, on the most part, to comply with the limiting of civil liberties including the freedom of the presses and speech in the region.