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Watch Your Freedom (Because Apple's Not)

by apatel Contributions Published on Mar 13, 2015 01:53 PM
At Apple's "Spring Forward" press event on Monday, March 9, the electronics company expounded upon its plans to release a smartwatch and revealed updates to its MacBook computer line, among other announcements. Underneath their focus on "innovation" and "design," however, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other participating speakers neglected to address growing concerns about the proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management technologies distributed with its products and services, which only serve to extend the company's oppression of computer users and their freedoms.

Apple's failure to release the source code for these products and software violates users' freedoms to study, modify, and distribute software, regardless of the type of device on which that software is run. Its integration of Digital Restrictions Management technologies into its products like Apple TV and iTunes place unethical restrictions on users' interactions with movies, music, and other media. And even though Apple has said it will release the source code of ResearchKit, an upcoming platform to collect data on volunteer medical research, it cannot guarantee users' privacy or protection for their data because of the proprietary iOS software on which it runs. Without access to the full source code of the operating systems collecting their personal and health information, it is impossible for users to ensure the safety and security of their data.

With these products, Apple only invests more in its battle against computer user freedom and, by extension, "free speech, free commerce, free association, privacy, and technological innovation," said FSF executive director John Sullivan in a statement in September.

The Free Software Foundation urges users to decline to purchase all Apple products, including the Apple Watch, iPhone, TV, and MacBook, and instead choose to use free software for all their devices. For mobile and wearable devices, choose software such as Replicant, a free software version of Android, and F-Droid, a mobile app repository of free software. For desktop and notebook computers, install a free GNU/Linux distribution and have a look around the FSF's Free Software Directory.

Also, people should join the many activists and free software users who have emailed Tim Cook (, pledging to boycott Apple products due to the company's use of DRM and proprietary software. Please CC us on your email at You are welcome to use this example email from our anti-DRM campaign, Defective by Design.

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