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<title>Proprietary Censorship - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Proprietary Censorship</h2>

<div class="comment"> class="infobox">
<hr class="full-width" />
<p>Nonfree (proprietary) software is very often malware (designed to
mistreat the user). Nonfree software is controlled by its developers,
which puts them in a position of power over the users; <a
href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">that is the
basic injustice</a>. The developers and manufacturers often exercise
that power to the detriment of the users they ought to serve.</p>

<p>Here are examples

<p>This typically takes the form of proprietary systems that impose malicious functionalities.</p>
<hr class="full-width" />
</div>

<div class="article">
<p>One kind of malicious functionality is censorship on of what their
users can access.  Here are examples of programs which do this.
We have a <a
href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">separate
list of proprietary systems that censor installation</a> of
application programs (we call them “jails”.)</p> “jails”).</p>

<p>Selling products designed as platforms for a
company to impose censorship ought to be forbidden by law, but it
isn't.</p>

<div class="important" style="margin-bottom: 2em"> 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 present the specifics.</p>
</div> serve as specific substantiation.</p>
</div>

<h3 id="apple">Apple</h3>

<p>Apple mainly uses iOS, which is a typical jail, to impose censorship
through the Apple Store. Please refer to <a
href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html#apple">Proprietary Jails</a>
for more information.</p>

<h3 id="google">Google</h3>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201703160">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-03</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Google <a
    href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2017/0316/Google-Family-Link-gives-parents-a-way-to-monitor-preteens-accounts">
    offers censorship software</a>, ostensibly for parents to put into
    their children's computers.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201701180">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-01</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>On Windows and MacOS, Chrome <a
    href="https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/developers/extensions-deployment-faq">
    disables extensions</a> that are not hosted in the Chrome Web
    Store.</p>

    <p>For example, an extension was <a
    href="https://consumerist.com/2017/01/18/why-is-google-blocking-this-ad-blocker-on-chrome/">
    href="https://web.archive.org/web/20170120094917/https://consumerist.com/2017/01/18/why-is-google-blocking-this-ad-blocker-on-chrome/">
    banned from the Chrome Web Store, and permanently disabled</a> on
    more than 40,000 computers.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201602030">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2016-02</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p><a
    href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/feb/03/google-pulls-ad-blocking-app-for-samsung-phones">
    Google censored installation of Samsung's ad-blocker</a> on Android
    phones, saying that blocking ads is “interference” with
    the sites that advertise (and surveil users through ads).</p>

    <p>The ad-blocker is proprietary software, just like the program
    (Google Play) that Google used to deny access to install it. Using
    a nonfree program gives the owner power over you, and Google has
    exercised that power.</p>

    <p>Google's censorship, unlike that of Apple, is not total: Android
    allows users to install apps in other ways. You can install free
    programs from f-droid.org.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


<h3 id="consoles">Game consoles</h3>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201408290">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2014-08</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>The <a
    href="https://www.gamespot.com/articles/nintendos-new-3ds-charges-30-cents-to-remove-an-in/1100-6421996/">
    Nintendo 3DS</a> censors web browsing; it is possible to turn off
    the censorship, but that requires identifying oneself to pay, which
    is a form of surveillance.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


</div><!-- for id="content", starts


<h3 id="online-conferencing">Online conferencing</h3>
<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M202006120">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2020-06</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>The company behind Zoom does not only deny
    users' computer freedom by developing this piece
    of nonfree software, it also violates users' civil rights by <a
    href="https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/12/21288995/zoom-blocking-feature-chinese-government-censorship">banning
    events and censoring users</a> to serve the agenda of governments.</p>

    <p>Freedom respecting programs such as <a
    href="https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Jitsi">Jitsi</a> or BigBlueButton
    can be used instead, better still if installed in a server controlled
    by its users.</p>
  </li>
</ul>

<h3 id="other">Other</h3>
<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M202109220">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-09</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Some Xiaomi phones <a
    href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/22/lithuania-tells-citizens-to-throw-out-chinese-phones-over-censorship-concerns">have
    a malfeature to bleep out phrases that express political views
    China does not like</a>. In phones sold in Europe, Xiaomi leaves
    this deactivated by default, but has a back door to activate the include above
    censorship.</p>

    <p>This is the natural result of having nonfree software in a device
    that can communicate with the company that made it.</p>
  </li>
</ul>

</div>

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