Clearly established cases of proprietary software that spies on or tracks users:
- Spyware in Windows: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/02/28/windows_update_keeps_tabs/
- Spyware in Angry Birds: http://confabulator.blogspot.com/2012/11/analysis-of-what-information-angry.html
- Spyware in many e-readers—not only the Kindle: https://www.eff.org/pages/reader-privacy-chart-2012
- Flash Player's feature that helps web sites track visitors: http://www.imasuper.com/66/technology/flash-cookies-the-silent-privacy-killer/
- FTC says most mobile apps for children don't respect privacy: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/12/ftc-disclosures-severely-lacking-in-kids-mobile-appsand-its-getting-worse/
- Spyware in Cisco TNP IP phones: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/29/your-cisco-phone-is-listening.html
- Most portable phones will send their GPS location on remote command and users cannot stop them: http://www.aclu.org/government-location-tracking-cell-phones-gps-devices-and-license-plate-readers
In addition, many web sites spy on their visitors. Web sites are not programs, so it makes no sense to call them “free” or “proprietary”, but the surveillance is an abuse all the same.
- Pages that contain “Like” buttons enable Facebook to track visitors to those pages—even users that don't have Facebook accounts.
- Many web sites rat their visitors to advertising networks that track users. Of the top 100 web sites, 85% fed their visitors cookies allowing other sites to track them.
- Many web sites report all their visitors to Google by using the Google Analytics service, which tells Google the IP address and the page that was visited.