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<title>Amazon's Software Is Malware
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Amazon's Software Is Malware</h2>

<p><a href="/proprietary/proprietary.html">Other examples of proprietary malware</a></p>

<div class="highlight-para"> class="comment">
<p>
Malware and nonfree software are two different issues.  Malware means
the program is designed to mistreat or harm users when it runs.  The
difference between <a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">free
software</a> and nonfree software is in
<a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">
whether the users have control of the program or vice versa</a>.  It's
not directly a question of what the program <em>does</em> when it
runs.  However, in practice nonfree software is often malware, because
the developer's awareness that the users would be powerless to fix any
malicious functionalities tempts the developer to impose some.
</p>
</div>

<div class="toc c">
  <h3>Type of product:</h3>
  <ul>
    <li><a href="#swindle">Kindle Swindle</a></li>
    <li><a href="#echo">Echo</a></li>
  </ul> class="important">
<p>If you know of an example that ought to be in this page but isn't
here, please write
to <a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>
to inform us. Please include the URL of a trustworthy reference or two
to serve as specific substantiation.</p>
</div>

<h2
</div>

<p class="c" style="font-size: 1.2em">
 <a href="#swindle">Kindle Swindle</a> 
 <a href="#echo">Echo</a> 
 <a href="#misc">Other products</a> 
</p>

<h3 id="swindle">Malware in the Kindle Swindle</h2> Swindle</h3>

<p>We refer to this product as the
<a href="/philosophy/why-call-it-the-swindle.html">Amazon Swindle</a>
because it has <a href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">Digital restrictions
management (DRM)</a>  and <a href="/philosophy/ebooks.html">
other malicious functionalities</a>.</p>

<div class="summary" style="margin-top: 1em">
    <h3>Type of malware</h3>
    <ul>
      <li><a href="#back-doors">Back doors</a></li>
      <!--<li><a href="#censorship">Censorship</a></li>-->
      <!--<li><a href="#insecurity">Insecurity</a></li>-->
      <!--<li><a href="#sabotage">Sabotage</a></li>-->
      <!--<li><a href="#interference">Interference</a></li>-->
      <li><a href="#surveillance">Surveillance</a></li>
      <li><a href="#drm">Digital restrictions
	  management</a> or “DRM” means functionalities designed
	to restrict what users can do with

<h4 id="back-doors">Back Doors</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201503210">
    <p>Amazon <a
    href="https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150321/13350230396/while-bricking-jailbroken-fire-tvs-last-year-amazon-did-same-to-kindle-devices.shtml">
    downgraded the data software in their computers.</li>
      <!--<li><a href="#jails">Jails</a>—systems
	  that impose censorship on application programs.</li>-->
      <!--<li><a href="#tyrants">Tyrants</a>—systems users' Swindles</a> so that reject any operating system not “authorized” by the
	  manufacturer.</li>-->
    </ul>
</div>

<h3 id="back-doors">Amazon Kindle Swindle Back Doors</h3>
<ul>
  <li> those already
    rooted would cease to function at all.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201210221">
    <p>The Amazon Kindle-Swindle has a back door that has been used to <a
    href="http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/some-e-books-are-more-equal-than-others/">
    remotely erase books</a>.  One of the books erased was 1984,
    <cite>1984</cite>, by George Orwell.
    </p> Orwell.</p>

    <p>Amazon responded to criticism by saying it
    would delete books only following orders from the
    state.  However, that policy didn't last.  In 2012 it <a href="http://boingboing.net/2012/10/22/kindle-user-claims-amazon-dele.html">wiped
    href="http://boingboing.net/2012/10/22/kindle-user-claims-amazon-dele.html">
    wiped a user's Kindle-Swindle and deleted her account</a>, then
    offered her kafkaesque “explanations.”</p>
  </li>
  
  <li>

  <li id="M200700000">
    <p>The Kindle also has a <a
    href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200774090">
    universal back door</a>.</p>
    
    <p>Amazon <a href="https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150321/13350230396/while-bricking-jailbroken-fire-tvs-last-year-amazon-did-same-to-kindle-devices.shtml">
	downgraded the software in users' Swindles</a>
      so that those already rooted would cease to function at all.</p></li>
  </li>
</ul>

<h3 id="surveillance">Amazon Kindle Swindle Surveillance</h3>
<ul>
  <li><p>The


<h4 id="surveillance">Surveillance</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201212031">
    <p>The Electronic Frontier Foundation has examined and found <a
    href="https://www.eff.org/pages/reader-privacy-chart-2012">various
    kinds of surveillance in the Swindle and other e-readers</a>.</p></li> e-readers</a>.</p>
  </li>
</ul>

<h3 id="drm">Amazon Kindle Swindle DRM</h3>
<ul>
  <li><p><a


<h4 id="drm">DRM</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201704131">
    <p><a href="http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/kindle-drm-17841.html">
    The Amazon Kindle has DRM</a>.  That article is flawed in that it
    fails to treat DRM as an ethical question; it takes for granted that
    whatever Amazon might do to its users is legitimate.  It refers to
    DRM as digital “rights” management, which is the spin
    term used to promote DRM.  Nonetheless it serves as a reference for
    the
      facts.</p></li> facts.</p>
  </li>
</ul>

<h2



<h3 id="echo">Malware in the Echo</h2>

<h3>Amazon Echo Back Doors</h3>
<ul>
    <li><p>The Echo</h3>

<h4 id="echo-back-doors">Back Doors</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201606060">
    <p>The Amazon Echo appears to have a universal back door, since <a
    href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo#Software_updates">
    it installs “updates” automatically</a>.</p>

    <p>We have found nothing explicitly documenting the lack of any way
    to disable remote changes to the software, so we are not completely
    sure there isn't one, but it this seems pretty clear.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


<h4 id="echo-surveillance">Surveillance</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201808120">
    <p>Crackers found a way to break the security of an Amazon device,
    and <a href="https://boingboing.net/2018/08/12/alexa-bob-carol.html">
    turn it into a listening device</a> for them.</p>

    <p>It was very difficult for them to do this. The job would be much
    easier for Amazon. And if some government such as China or the US
    told Amazon to do this, or cease to sell the product in that country,
    do you think Amazon would have the moral fiber to say no?</p>

    <p>These crackers are probably hackers too, but please <a
    href="https://stallman.org/articles/on-hacking.html"> don't use
    “hacking” to mean “breaking security”</a>.</p>
  </li>
</ul>



<h3 id="misc"> Malware in other products</h3>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201711200">
    <p>Amazon recently invited consumers to be suckers and <a
    href="https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171120/10533238651/vulnerability-fo">
    allow delivery staff to open their front doors</a>. Wouldn't you know
    it, the system has a grave security flaw.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201411090">
    <p>The Amazon “Smart” TV is <a
    href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2014/nov/09/amazon-echo-smart-tv-watching-listening-surveillance">
    snooping all the time</a>.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


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