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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 April, 2017, October, 2018, the files pages in this directory list around 300 350
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">
<h3>Company

<table id="TOC">
 <tr>
  <th>Injustices or type of product</h3> 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-addictions.html">Addictions</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-microsoft.html">Microsoft Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a> (<a href="#f1">1</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-google.html">Google 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-amazon.html">Amazon Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-webpages.html">Malware in webpages</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">DRM</a> (<a href="#f2">2</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-phones.html">Malware in phones</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">Jails</a> (<a href="#f3">3</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Malware in cars</a></li> 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">
<h3>Type of malware</h3>
  </td>
  <td>
   <ul>
    <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 feature of a program
     that enables someone who is not supposed to
servers</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">Digital be in control of the
     computer where it is installed to send it commands.</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 reject requires
     permanent (or very frequent) connection to a server.</li>

    <li id="f5"><em>Tyrant:</em>  system that rejects any operating
     system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/potential-malware.html">Potential Malware</a></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="M201612290">
    <p>In the game Fruit Pop, the player buys boosts with coins to get
    a high score. The player gets coins at the end of each game, and can
    buy more coins with real money.</p>

    <p>Getting a higher score once leads the player to desire higher
    score again later. But the higher score resulting from the boost <a
    href="https://qz.com/873348/50000-coins-for-1-99-how-mobile-game-in-app-purchases-are-warping-kids-understanding-of-basic-economic-ideas/">does
    not give the player more coins, and does not help the player get
    a higher score in subsequent games</a>. To get that, the player
    will need a boost frequently, and usually has to pay real money
    for that. Since boosts are exciting and entertaining, the player is
    subtly pushed to purchase more coins with real money to get boosts,
    and it can develop into a costly habit.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201612140">
    <p>The Microsoft Telemetry Compatibility service <a
    href="https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-performance/microsoft-telemetry-compatibility/cefa7c8e-49c9-4965-aef6-2d5f01bb38f2?tab=AllReplies#tabs">
    drastically reduces the performances of machines running
    Windows 10</a>, and can't be disabled easily.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201901100">
    <p>Amazon Ring “security” devices <a
    href="https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/10/ring-gave-employees-access-customer-video-feeds/">
    send the video they capture to Amazon servers</a> which save it
    permanently.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201901050">
    <p>The Weather Channel app <a
    href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/04/weather-channel-app-lawsuit-location-data-selling">
    stored users' locations to the company's server</a>. The company is
    being sued, demanding that it notify the users of what it will do
    with the data.</p>

    <p>I think that lawsuit is about a side issue. What the company does
    with the data is a secondary issue. The principal wrong here is that
    the company gets that data at all.</p>

    <p><a
    href="https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gy77wy/stop-using-third-party-weather-apps">
    Other weather apps</a>, including Accuweather and WeatherBug, are
    tracking people's locations.</p> 
  </li>

  <li id="M201812300">
    <p>New GM cars <a
    href="https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gmc/vehicles/canyon/2019.html">
    offer the feature of a universal back door</a>.</p>

    <p>Every nonfree program offers the user zero security against its
    developer. With this malfeature, GM has explicitly made things even
    worse.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


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