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

<div id="skiplinks">
<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>

<div id="about-section">
<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>In this section, we also list <a
href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html#phone-communications">one
other malicious characteristic of mobile phones, location tracking</a>
which is caused by the underlying radio system rather than by the
specific software in them.</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>
<hr class="thin" />
</div>

<p>As of April, 2017, November, 2021, the files pages in this directory list around 300 550
instances of malicious functionalities, functionalities (with more than 620 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

<p>If you want to be notified when we add new items or type of product</h3>
<ul> make other changes,
subscribe to the <a
href="https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/www-malware-commits">mailing list
<www-malware-commits@gnu.org></a>.</p>

<table id="TOC">
 <tr>
  <th>Injustices or techniques</th>
  <th>Products or companies</th>
 </tr>
 <tr>
  <td>
   <ul class="columns">
    <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-fraud.html">Fraud</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li> href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-cars.html">Malware in cars</a></li> 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-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-in-online-conferencing.html">Conferencing</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-edtech.html">Ed Tech</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-incompatibility.html">Incompatibility</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Games</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Mobiles</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</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-surveillance.html">Surveillance</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-amazon.html">Amazon</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-subscriptions.html">Subscriptions</a></li> href="/proprietary/malware-apple.html">Apple</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tethers.html">Tethers</a> to
servers</li> href="/proprietary/malware-google.html">Google</a></li>
    <li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">Digital 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 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>
</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="M202110250">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-10</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Ed Tech companies use their surveillance power to
    manipulate students, and direct them into tracks towards various
    levels of knowledge, power and prestige. The article argues that <a
    href="https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/medialse/2021/10/25/algorithmic-injustice-in-education-why-tech-companies-should-require-a-license-to-operate-in-childrens-education/">these
    companies should obtain licenses to operate</a>. That wouldn't hurt,
    but it doesn't address the root of the problem. All data acquired
    in a school about any student, teacher, or employee must not leave
    the school, and must be kept in computers that belong to the school
    and run free (as in freedom) software. That way, the school district
    and/or parents can control what is done with those data.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M202111090">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-11</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>A building in LA, with a supermarket in it, <a
    href="https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-11-09/column-trader-joes-parking-app">demands
    customers load a particular app to pay for parking in the parking
    lot</a>, and accept pervasive surveillance. They also have the
    option of entering their license plate numbers in a kiosk. That is
    an injustice, too.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M202111040">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-11</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Apple's new tactic to restrict users from
    repairing their own device and impose DRM on people is to <a
    href="https://www.ifixit.com/News/54829/apples-new-screen-repair-trap-could-change-the-repair-industry-forever">completely
    disable its Face ID functionality</a> when you replace its screen.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M202108180">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2021-08</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Microsoft is making it harder and harder to <a
    href="https://www.theverge.com/22630319/microsoft-windows-11-default-browser-changes">replace
    default apps in its Windows</a> operating system and is pressuring
    users to use its proprietary programs instead. We believe the
    best approach to this would be replacing Windows with a free
    (as in freedom) operating system like GNU. We also maintain a <a
    href="/distros/free-distros.html">list of fully free distributions
    of GNU</a>.</p>
  </li>

  <li id="M201802280">
    <!--#set var="DATE" value='<small class="date-tag">2018-02</small>'
    --><!--#echo encoding="none" var="DATE" -->
    <p>Spotify app <a
    href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639920/000119312518063434/d494294df1.htm">harvests
    users' data to personally identify and know people</a> through music,
    their mood, mindset, activities, and tastes. There are over 150
    billion events logged daily on the program which contains users'
    data and personal information.</p>
  </li>
</ul>
<p class="button right-align">
<a href="/proprietary/all.html">More items…</a></p>
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