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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.
Google's advertising system in Gmail has drawn heavy controversy by privacy advocates, by analysing emails sent and received to deliver better targeted adverts. Over time, a picture builds up of what is most interesting to the end user, and adverts will be displayed accordingly.
But this led to speculation that Google was "reading" emails, whether by person or through algorithmic means. The British data protection agency, the ICO investigated after a privacy group made an initial complaint. This led to the belief that Google's Gmail was less secure and open to abuse.
The spat between Google, the owner of YouTube, and Viacom threatened to disclose millions of users' details in a copyright lawsuit. Viacom eventually compromised in the end and allowed the anonymised data to be handed over by Viacom, but privacy was very much still at risk.
This could have been the largest legal disclosure of data to date, and would have compromised many YouTube users' accounts, and dented the privacy record of what once was an independent video upload site, before Google bought it out in 2006.