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

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

<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 often exercise that power to the
detriment of the users they ought to serve.</p>

<p>This document

<p>Tethering a product or program to a specific server is an injustice
in itself.  This page reports instances where tethering was used to
harm the users directly.</p>

<p>Logitech will sabotage all Harmony Link household control devices by
<a href="https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/11/logitech-to-shut-down-service-and-support-for-harmony-link-devices-in-2018/">
turning off the server through which the products' supposed owners
communicate with them</a>.</p>
<p>The owners suspect this is to pressure them to buy a newer model. If
they are wise, they will learn, rather, to distrust any product that
requires users to talk with them through some specialized service.</p>

<p>Sony has brought back its robotic pet Aibo, this time <a
with a universal back door, and tethered to a server that requires a

  <p>The Canary home surveillance camera has been sabotaged by its
    manufacturer, <a
    turning off many features unless the user starts
    paying for a subscription</a>.</p>
  <p>With manufacturers like these, who needs security breakers?</p>
  <p>The purchasers should learn the larger lesson and reject connected
    appliances with embedded proprietary software software. Every such product
    is a temptation to commit sabotage.</p>

  <p>Bird and rabbit pets were implemented for Second Life by a company
that tethered their food to a server.</p>

<ul> server.
  <a href="https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/05/19/second-life-ozimals-pet-rabbits-dying">
    It shut down the server and the pets more or less died</a>.</p>

<p>Anova sabotaged users' cooking devices with a downgrade that
tethered them to a remote server. <a href="https://consumerist.com/2017/04/12/anova-ticks-off-customers-by-requiring-mandatory-accounts-to-cook-food/#more-10275062">Unless users create an account on Anova's servers, their
cookers won't function.</a></p>

<p>nVidia's proprietary GeForce Experience <a href="http://www.gamersnexus.net/industry/2672-geforce-experience-data-transfer-analysis">makes
users identify themselves and then sends personal data about them to
nVidia servers</a>.</p>

<p>Adobe applications <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20160308062844/http://www.wired.com/2013/05/adobe-creative-cloud-petition/">require
periodic connection to a server</a>.</p>

<p>The iMessage app on iThings <a href="https://theintercept.com/2016/09/28/apple-logs-your-imessage-contacts-and-may-share-them-with-police/">tells
a server every phone number that the user types into it</a>; the
server records these numbers for at least 30 days.</p>

<p>A half-blind security critique of a tracking app: it found that <a
blatant flaws allowed anyone to snoop on a user's personal data</a>.
The critique fails entirely to express concern that the app sends the
personal data to a server, where the <em>developer</em> gets it all.
This “service” is for suckers!</p>

<p>The server surely has a “privacy policy,” and surely it
is worthless since nearly all of them are.</p>

<p>Google/Alphabet <a
intentionally shut off broke Revolv home automatic control products that depend depended on
a server</a> to function. function, by shutting down the server.
The lesson is, don't stand for that! reject all such products.  Insist
on self-contained computers that run free software!</p>


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<p class="unprintable">Updated:
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$Date: 2017/11/28 15:00:06 $
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