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<h2>Proprietary Jails</h2>

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

<div class="article">
<p>The “jails” are malicious operating systems that are
designed to impose censorship of which applications the user can install.
The <a href="http://i.imgur.com/ZRViDum.jpg">image of the iPrison</a>
illustrates this issue.</p>
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<p>These systems are platforms for censorship imposed by the company
that owns the system.  Selling products designed as platforms for a
company to impose censorship ought to be forbidden by law, but it

<p>This page lists a few jails, along with some of the methods they use
to censor apps, and includes specific examples of apps that were blocked
using this censorship power.</p>

<div 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 id="TOC" class="toc-inline">
  <li> <a href="#apple">Apple</a> </li>
  <li> <a href="#microsoft">Microsoft</a> </li>
  <li> <a href="#consoles">Game consoles</a> </li>

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

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M202109170">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-09</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple has made it <a
    impossible to load Navalny's tactical voting app into an iPhone</a>
    in Russia.</p>

    <p>It is impossible because (1) the iPhone refuses to load apps
    from anywhere other than Apple, and (2) Apple has obeyed a Russian
    censorship law.  The first point is enforced by Apple's nonfree

  <li id="M201904080">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2019-04</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple plans to require that <a
    all application software for MacOS be approved by Apple first</a>.</p>

    <p>Offering a checking service as an option could be
    useful and would not be wrong.  Requiring users to get
    Apple's approval is tyranny. Apple says the check will
    only look for malware (not counting the malware that is <a
    href="/proprietary/malware-apple.html#TOC">part of
    the operating system</a>), but Apple could change that policy step
    by step.  Or perhaps Apple will define malware to include any app
    that China does not like.</p>

    <p>For free software, this means users will need to get Apple's
    approval after compilation.  This amounts to a system of surveilling
    the use of free programs.</p>

  <li id="M200803070">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2008-03</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=IOS_jailbreaking&oldid=835861046">
    iOS, the operating system of the Apple iThings, is the prototype
    of a jail</a>.  It was Apple that introduced the practice of
    designing general purpose computers with censorship of application

    <p>Here is an article about the <a
    code signing</a> that the iThings use to lock up the user.</p>

    <p>Curiously, Apple is beginning to allow limited passage through the
    walls of the iThing jail: users can now install apps built from
    source code, provided the source code is written in Swift.  Users
    cannot do this freely because they are required to identify
    themselves. <a href="https://developer.apple.com/xcode/">Here
    are details</a>. While this is a crack in the prison walls, it is not
    big enough to mean that the iThings are no longer jails.</p>

<h4 id="apple-censorship">Examples of censorship by Apple jails</h4>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M202108200">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-08</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>The Russian communications watchdog <a
    tells Google and Apple to remove Navalny's app</a> from their

    <p>Because Apple controls what a user can install, this is absolute
    censorship. By contrast, because Android does not do that, users can
    install apps even if Google does not offer them.</p>

  <li id="M202008300">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2020-08</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple is <a
    putting the squeeze on all business</a> conducted through apps
    for iMonsters.</p>

    <p>This is a symptom of a very big injustice: that Apple has the
    power to decide what software can be installed on an iMonster.
    That it is a jail.</p>

  <li id="M201910100">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2019-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple has <a
    banned the app that Hong Kong protesters use to communicate</a>.</p>

    <p>Obeying the “local laws” about what people can do with
    software is no excuse for censoring what software people can use.</p>

  <li id="M201910070">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2019-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple <a
    censors the Taiwan flag in iOS</a> on behalf of the Chinese
    government. When the region is set to Hong Kong, this flag is not
    visible in the emoji selection widget but is still accessible. When the
    region is set to mainland China, all attempts to display it will result
    in the “empty emoji” icon as if the flag never existed.</p>

    <p>Thus, not only does Apple use the App Store as an instrument
    of censorship, it also uses the iThing operating system for that

  <li id="M201905150">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2019-05</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Users caught in the jail of an iMonster are <a
    href="https://boingboing.net/2019/05/15/brittle-security.html"> sitting
    ducks for other attackers</a>, and the app censorship prevents security
    companies from figuring out how those attacks work.</p>

    <p>Apple's censorship of apps is fundamentally unjust, and would be
    inexcusable even if it didn't lead to security threats as well.</p>

  <li id="M201710130">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple is <a
    censoring apps for the US government too</a>. Specifically, it is
    deleting apps developed by Iranians.</p>

    <p>The root of these wrongs is in Apple. If Apple had not designed
    the iMonsters to let Apple censor applications, Apple would not have
    had the power to stop users from installing whatever kind of apps.</p>

  <li id="M201707290">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-07</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple <a
    deleted several VPNs from its app store for China</a>, thus using its
    own censorship power to strengthen that of the Chinese government.</p>

  <li id="M201701064">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-01</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple used its censorship system to enforce Russian surveillance <a
    by blocking distribution of the LinkedIn app in Russia</a>.</p>

    <p>This is ironic because LinkedIn is a surveillance system itself.
    While subjecting its users to its own surveillance, it tries to
    protect its users from Russian surveillance, and is therefore subject
    to Russian censorship.</p>

    <p>However, the point here is the wrong of Apple's censorship of

  <li id="M201701050">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-01</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple used its censorship system to enforce China's censorship <a
    by blocking distribution of the New York Times app</a>.</p>

  <li id="M201605190">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2016-05</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple censors games, <a
    banning some games from the cr…app store</a> because of which
    political points they suggest. Some political points are apparently
    considered acceptable.</p>

  <li id="M201509290">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2015-09</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple <a href="http://ifixit.org/blog/7401/ifixit-app-pulled/"> href="https://www.ifixit.com/News/7401/ifixit-app-pulled">
    banned a program from the App Store</a> because its developers
    committed the enormity of disassembling some iThings.</p>

  <li id="M201509230">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2015-09</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>As of 2015, Apple <a
    systematically bans apps that endorse abortion rights or would help
    women find abortions</a>.</p>

    <p>This particular political slant <a
    affects other Apple services</a>.</p>

  <li id="M201506250">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2015-06</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple has banned iThing
    applications that show the confederate flag.  <a
    Not only those that use it as a symbol of racism</a>, but even
    strategic games that use it to represent confederate army units
    fighting in the Civil War.</p>

    <p>This ludicrous rigidity illustrates the point that Apple should
    not be allowed to censor apps.  Even if Apple carried out this act of
    censorship with some care, it would still be wrong.  Whether racism
    is bad, whether educating people about drone attacks is bad, are not
    the real issue.  Apple should not have the power to impose its views
    about either of these questions, or any other.</p>

  <li id="M201412110">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2014-12</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    More examples of Apple's arbitrary and inconsistent censorship</a>.</p>

  <li id="M201405250">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2014-05</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple used this censorship power in 2014 to <a
    ban all bitcoin apps</a> for the iThings for a time.  It also <a
    banned a game about growing marijuana</a>, while permitting games
    about other crimes such as killing people.  Perhaps Apple considers
    killing more acceptable than marijuana.</p>

  <li id="M201402070">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2014-02</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple rejected an app that displayed the locations
    of US drone assassinations, giving various excuses. Each
    time the developers fixed one “problem”, Apple
    complained about another.  After the fifth rejection, Apple <a
    admitted it was censoring the app based on the subject matter</a>.</p>

<h3 id="microsoft">Microsoft</h3>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201706130">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2017-06</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Windows 10 S was a jail: <a
    only programs from the Windows Store could be
    installed and executed</a>. It was however possible to <a
    upgrade to Windows 10 Pro</a>. The successor of Windows
    10 S is a special configuration of Windows 10 called <a
    S mode</a>. The major difference with Windows 10 S is that there is
    an easy way to switch out of S mode.</p>

  <li id="M201210080">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2012-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    Windows 8 on “mobile devices” (now defunct) was a

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

<p>No game can run on the console unless the console's manufacturer
has authorized it.  Alas, we can't find a article to cite as a reference
  for this fact.  Please inform us if you know of one.</p>

<ul class="blurbs">
  <li id="M201003280">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2010-03</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Sony restricted access to the PlayStation 3 GPU, so people
    who installed a GNU/Linux operating system on the console couldn't
    use it at full capacity. When some of them broke the restriction, <a
    removed the ability to install other operating
    systems</a>. Then users broke that restriction too, but <a
    sued by Sony</a>.</p>

  <li id="M200512270">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2005-12</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>To install and use third-party operating
    systems and programs on the Xbox console, <a
    had to break the restrictions imposed by Microsoft</a>.</p>


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