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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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<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

<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">

<table id="TOC">
  <th>Injustices or type of product</h3> techniques</th>
  <th>Products or companies</th>
    <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-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Malware in cars</a></li> 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>

<div class="malfunctions">
<h3>Type of malware</h3>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Appliances</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Cars</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Games</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</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>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-adobe.html">Adobe</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-sabotage.html">Sabotage</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>
  <td colspan="2">
    <li id="f1"><em>Back door:</em>  any feature of a program
     that enables someone who is not supposed to
<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>
<li><a href="/proprietary/potential-malware.html">Potential Malware</a></li>

<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="M201904210">
    <p>As of April 2019, it is <a
    longer possible to disable an
    unscrupulous tracking anti-feature</a> that <a
    users when they follow ping links</a> in Apple Safari, Google Chrome,
    Opera, Microsoft Edge and also in the upcoming Microsoft Edge that
    going to be based on Chromium.</p>

  <li id="M201904131">
    <p>Data collected by menstrual and pregnancy monitoring apps is often <a
    available to employers and insurance companies</a>. Even though the
    data is “anonymized and aggregated,” it can easily be
    traced back to the woman who uses the app.</p>

    <p>This has harmful implications for women's rights to equal employment
    and freedom to make their own pregnancy choices. Don't use
    these apps, even if someone offers you a reward to do so.</p>

  <li id="M201904041">
    <p>Microsoft has been  <a
    force-installing a “remediation”
    program</a> on computers running certain
    versions of Windows 10. Remediation, in Microsoft's view, means <a
    tampering with users' settings and files</a>, notably to
    “repair” any components of the updating system that users
    may have intentionally disabled, and thus regain full power over
    them. Microsoft repeatedly pushed faulty versions of this program to
    users' machines, causing numerous problems, some of which <a

    <p>This exemplifies the arrogant and manipulative attitude
    that proprietary software developers have learned to adopt
    toward the people they are supposedly serving. Migrate to a <a
    href="/distros/free-distros.html">free operating system</a> if you

    <p>If your employer makes you run Windows, tell the financial
    department how this wastes your time dealing with endless connections
    and premature hardware failures.</p>

  <li id="M201904150">
    <p id="M201509210">Volkswagen programmed its car engine computers to <a
    detect the Environmental Protection Agency's emission tests</a>, and
    run dirty the rest of the time. In real driving, the cars exceeded
    emissions standards by a factor of up to 35.</p>

    <p>Using free software would not have stopped Volkswagen from
    programming it this way, but would have made it harder to conceal,
    and given the users the possibility of correcting the deception.</p>

    <p>Former executives of Volkswagen are being <a
    sued over this fraud</a>.</p>

  <li id="M201904130">
    <p>Google tracks the movements of Android phones, and sometimes <a
    saves the data for years</a>.</p>

    <p>Nonfree software in the phone has to be responsible for sending
    the location data to Google.</p>

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