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Free Software Foundation statement on new iPhone models from Apple

by William Theaker Contributions Published on Sep 10, 2013 04:24 PM
The Free Software Foundation encourages users to avoid all Apple products, in the interest of their own freedom and the freedom of those around them.

Today, Apple announced two new iPhone models: the 5s, which comes with a fingerprint scanner, and the 5c, which will be available at a lower price point. In response, FSF executive director John Sullivan made the following statement:

Mobile phones are the most widely-used and deeply intimate personal-computing devices. With all of the emails, text messages, photos, and videos mediated by these devices, it is essential that the software they run be fully under the control of their users. Instead, Apple has given us new hardware with the same old restrictions, allowing only Apple-approved software, putting users -- along with their data, their privacy, and their freedom of expression -- at the mercy of programs whose operations are secret and demonstrably untrustworthy. We can't imagine a more hostile reaction to the wave of privacy concerns sweeping the world right now than debuting a proprietary, network-accessible fingerprint scanner as your new 'feature'.

Because so many people carry computers in their pocket which can track and transmit where they have been, who they have communicated with, what they are interested in, and what sights and sounds are around them at any given moment, any liveable future absolutely depends on free 'as in freedom' software. Free software empowers users to replace any software hostile to their interests. The first step is rejecting Apple's restrictions.

We urge users to investigate ways to support the use of mobile devices which do not restrict users' essential freedoms. Such projects include Replicant, a free software fork of Android, and F-Droid, an app repository of exclusively free software for Android. People should also let Tim Cook at Apple know how they feel.

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