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
- Portable phones with GPS 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. (The US says it will eventually require all new portable phones to have GPS.)
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 1000 web sites, 93% fed their visitors third-party 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.