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<title>Proprietary Software
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
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<h2>Proprietary Software Is Often Malware</h2>

<p class="button"><a href="#TOC">Table of contents</a></p>
<p class="button"><a href="#latest">Latest additions</a></p>
<div style="clear: both"></div>

<p>Proprietary software, also called nonfree software,
means software that doesn't
<a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">respect users' freedom and
community</a>.  A proprietary program puts its developer or owner
<a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">
in a position of power over its users.</a>
This power is in itself an injustice.</p>

<p>The point of this page is that the initial injustice of proprietary
software often leads to further injustices: malicious
functionalities.</p>

<p>Power corrupts; the proprietary program's developer is tempted to
design the program to mistreat its users.  (Software whose functioning
mistreats the user is called <em>malware</em>.)  Of course, the
developer usually does not do this out of malice, but rather to profit
more at the users' expense.  That does not make it any less nasty or
more legitimate.</p>

<p>Yielding to that temptation has become ever more frequent; nowadays
it is standard practice.  Modern proprietary software is typically
a way to be had.</p>

<p>As of January, 2017, October, 2018, the files pages in this directory list around 260 350
instances of malicious functionalities, functionalities (with more than 400 references to
back them up), but there are surely thousands more we don't know about.</p>

<div class="toc">
<div class="companies">
<ul>
  <li><strong>Company

<table id="TOC">
 <tr>
  <th>Injustices or type of product</strong></li> techniques</th>
  <th>Products or companies</th>
 </tr>
 <tr>
  <td>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-apple.html">Apple Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a> (<a href="#f1">1</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-microsoft.html">Microsoft Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-adobe.html">Adobe Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-kindle-swindle.html">Malware in the Amazon
      Swindle</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">DRM</a> (<a href="#f2">2</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">Jails</a> (<a href="#f3">3</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-sabotage.html">Sabotage</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-subscriptions.html">Subscriptions</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-surveillance.html">Surveillance</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tethers.html">Tethers</a> (<a href="#f4">4</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tyrants.html">Tyrants</a> (<a href="#f5">5</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/potential-malware.html">In the pipe</a></li>
   </ul>
</div>

<div class="malfunctions">
  </td>
  <td>
   <ul>
<li><strong>Type of malware</strong></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Appliances</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Cars</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Games</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Mobiles</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-webpages.html">Webpages</a></li>
   </ul>
   <ul>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-sabotage.html">Sabotage</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-adobe.html">Adobe</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-amazon.html">Amazon</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-surveillance.html">Surveillance</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-apple.html">Apple</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-subscriptions.html">Subscriptions</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-google.html">Google</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tethers.html">Tethers</a> href="/proprietary/malware-microsoft.html">Microsoft</a></li>
   </ul>
  </td>
 </tr>
 <tr>
  <td colspan="2">
   <ol>
    <li id="f1"><em>Back door:</em>  any piece of software that is
     running on your computer, and listens for commands from someone
     else who can tell it to
servers</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">Digital do things without asking your approval.</li>

    <li id="f2"><em>Digital restrictions
    management</a> management, or “DRM” means
     “DRM”:</em>  functionalities designed to restrict
     what users can do with the data in their computers.</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">Jails</a>—systems

    <li id="f3"><em>Jail:</em>  system that impose imposes censorship on
     application programs.</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tyrants.html">Tyrants</a>—systems

    <li id="f4"><em>Tether:</em>  functionality that requires
     permanent (or very frequent) connection to a server.</li>

    <li id="f5"><em>Tyrant:</em>  system that reject rejects any operating
     system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.</li>
</ul>
</div>
</div>
   </ol>
  </td>
 </tr>
</table>

<p>Users of proprietary software are defenseless against these forms
of mistreatment.  The way to avoid them is by insisting on
<a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">free
(freedom-respecting) software.</a> software</a>.  Since free software is controlled
by its users, they have a pretty good defense against malicious
software functionality.</p>


<h3 id="latest">Latest additions</h3>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201811100">
    <p>Corel Paintshop Pro has a <a
    href="https://torrentfreak.com/corel-wrongly-accuses-licensed-user-of-piracy-disables-software-remotely-181110/">
    back door that can make it cease to function</a>.</p>

    <p>The article is full of confusions, errors and biases that we have
    an obligation to expose, given that we are making a link to them.</p>

    <ul>
    <li>Getting a patent does not “enable” a company to do
    any particular thing in its products. What it does enable the company
    to do is sue other companies if they do some particular thing in
    their products.</li>

    <li>A company's policies about when to attack users through a back
    door are beside the point. Inserting the back door is wrong in the
    first place, and using the back door is always wrong too. No software
    developer should have that power over users.</li>

    <li>“<a
    href="/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Piracy">Piracy</a>” means
    attacking ships. Using that word to refer to sharing copies is a smear;
    please don't smear sharing.</li>

    <li><p>The idea of “protecting our IP” is
    total confusion. The term “IP” itself is a <a
    href="/philosophy/not-ipr.html">bogus generalization about things
    that have nothing in common</a>.</p>

    <p>In addition, to speak of “protecting” that bogus
    generalization is a separate absurdity. It's like calling the cops
    because neighbors' kids are playing on your front yard, and saying
    that you're “protecting the boundary line”. The kids can't do harm
    to the boundary line, not even with a jackhammer, because it is an
    abstraction and can't be affected by physical action.</p></li>
    </ul>
  </li>

  <li id="M201810300">
    <p>Nearly all “home security cameras” <a
    href="https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/d-link-camera-poses-data-security-risk--consumer-reports-finds/">
    give the manufacturer an unencrypted copy of everything they
    see</a>. “Home insecurity camera” would be a better
    name!</p>

    <p>When Consumer Reports tested them, it suggested that these
    manufacturers promise not to look at what's in the videos. That's not
    security for your home. Security means making sure they don't get to
    see through your camera.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201810244">
    <p>Some Android apps <a
    href="https://www.androidauthority.com/apps-uninstall-trackers-917539/amp/">
    track the phones of users that have deleted them</a>.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201810240">
    <p>Apple and Samsung deliberately <a
    href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/apple-samsung-fined-for-slowing-down-phones">degrade
    the performance of older phones to force users to buy their newer
    phones</a>.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201810230">
    <p>GM <a
    href="https://boingboing.net/2018/10/23/dont-touch-that-dial.html">
    tracked the choices of radio programs</a> in its
    “connected” cars, minute by minute.</p>

    <p>GM did not get users' consent, but it could have got that easily by
    sneaking it into the contract that users sign for some digital service
    or other. A requirement for consent is effectively no protection.</p>

    <p>The cars can also collect lots of other data: listening to you,
    watching you, following your movements, tracking passengers' cell
    phones. <em>All</em> such data collection should be forbidden.</p>

    <p>But if you really want to be safe, we must make sure the car's
    hardware cannot collect any of that data, or that the software
    is free so we know it won't collect any of that data.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


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