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

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<p class="button"><a href="#TOC">Table of contents</a></p>
<p class="button"><a href="#latest">Latest additions</a></p>
</div>
<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, April, 2019, the files pages in this directory list around 260 400
instances of malicious functionalities, functionalities (with more than 450 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-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-adobe.html">Adobe Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-kindle-swindle.html">Malware in the Amazon
      Swindle</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">DRM</a> (<a href="#f2">2</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a 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-manipulation.html">Manipulation</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 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 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="M201905280">
    <p>In spite of Apple's supposed commitment to
    privacy, iPhone apps contain trackers that are busy at night <a
    href="https://freediggz.com/2019/05/28/perspective-its-the-middle-of-the-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking-to/">
    sending users' personal information to third parties</a>.</p>

    <p>The article mentions specific examples: Microsoft OneDrive,
    Intuit’s Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Washington Post, The Weather
    Channel (owned by IBM), the crime-alert service Citizen, Yelp
    and DoorDash. But it is likely that most nonfree apps contain
    trackers. Some of these send personally identifying data such as phone
    fingerprint, exact location, email address, phone number or even
    delivery address (in the case of DoorDash). Once this information
    is collected by the company, there is no telling what it will be
    used for.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201906030">
    <p>Apple can <a
    href="https://www.macrumors.com/2019/06/03/apples-new-find-my-app/">
    track iMonsters even when they are suspended</a>.</p>

    <p>This distributed bluetooth network is said to be
    “secure,” but it is obviously <em>not</em> secure from
    Apple or from governments that can command Apple's obedience (such
    as the US and China).</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201905300">
    <p>The Femm “fertility” app is secretly a <a
    href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/30/revealed-womens-fertility-app-is-funded-by-anti-abortion-campaigners">
    tool for propaganda</a> by natalist Christians.  It spreads distrust
    for contraception.</p>

    <p>It snoops on users, too, as you must expect from nonfree
    programs.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201905061">
    <p>Amazon Alexa collects a lot more information from users
    than is necessary for correct functioning (time, location,
    recordings made without a legitimate prompt), and sends
    it to Amazon's servers, which store it indefinitely. Even
    worse, Amazon forwards it to third-party companies. Thus,
    even if users request deletion of their data from Amazon's servers, <a
    href="https://www.ctpost.com/business/article/Alexa-has-been-eavesdropping-on-you-this-whole-13822095.php">
    the data remain on other servers</a>, where they can be accessed by
    advertising companies and government agencies. In other words,
    deleting the collected information doesn't cancel the wrong of
    collecting it.</p>

    <p>Data collected by devices such as the Nest thermostat, the Philips
    Hue-connected lights, the Chamberlain MyQ garage opener and the Sonos
    speakers are likewise stored longer than necessary on the servers
    the devices are tethered to. Moreover, they are made available to
    Alexa. As a result, Amazon has a very precise picture of users' life
    at home, not only in the present, but in the past (and, who knows,
    in the future too?)</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201905150">
    <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>
</ul>


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