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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>
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<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, 2019, the files pages in this directory list around 300 400
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">
<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/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a> (<a href="#f1">1</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-microsoft.html">Microsoft Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-google.html">Google Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-adobe.html">Adobe Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">DRM</a> (<a href="#f2">2</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-amazon.html">Amazon Malware</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-fraud.html">Fraud</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-webpages.html">Malware in webpages</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-phones.html">Malware in phones</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">Jails</a> (<a href="#f3">3</a>)</li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-manipulation.html">Manipulation</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Malware in cars</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-obsolescence.html">Obsolescence</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">
<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="M201909090">
    <p>Some nonfree period-tracking apps including MIA Fem and Maya <a
    href="https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meghara/period-tracker-apps-facebook-maya-mia-fem">
    send intimate details of users' lives to Facebook</a>.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201909160">
    <p>Tesla users claim Tesla <a
    href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-battery/tesla-owner-lawsuit-claims-software-update-fraudulently-cut-battery-capacity-idUSKCN1UY2TW">force-installed
    software to cut down on battery range</a>, rather than replace the
    defective batteries. Tesla did this to avoid having to run their
    warranty.</p>

    <p>This means that proprietary software can potentially be a way to
    commit perjury with impunity.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201908220">
    <p>ChromeBooks are programmed for obsolescence:
    ChromeOS has a universal back door that is used for updates and <a
    href="https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/08/22/buying_a_chromebook_dont_forget_to_check_when_it_expires/">
    ceases to operate at a predefined date</a>. From then on, there
    appears to be no support whatsoever for the computer.</p>

    <p>In other words, when you stop getting screwed by the back door,
    you start getting screwed by the obsolescence.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201908210">
    <p>Microsoft recorded users of Xboxes and had <a
    href="https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43kv4q/microsoft-human-contractors-listened-to-xbox-owners-homes-kinect-cortana">
    human workers listen to the recordings</a>.</p>

    <p>Morally, we see no difference between having human workers listen and
    having speech-recognition systems listen.  Both intrude on privacy.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201909060">
    <p>Keeping track of who downloads a proprietary
    program is a form of surveillance.  There is a
    proprietary program for adjusting a certain telescopic rifle sight. <a
    href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/09/06/exclusive-feds-demand-apple-and-google-hand-over-names-of-10000-users-of-a-gun-scope-app/">
    A US prosecutor has demanded the list of all the 10,000 or more people
    who have installed it</a>.</p>

    <p>With a free program there would not be a list of who has installed
    it.</p>
  </li>
</ul>


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