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For PITY'S SAKE, DON'T BUY an iPHONE 5S, begs FSF

'Secret and untrustworthy' says Free Software Foundation

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Free Software Foundation has taken issue with fingerprint recognition in the iPhone 5S and has called on users to reject Apple’s closed system smartphones.

Executive director John Sullivan used the launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C on Tuesday to zero in on the iPhone 5S, the expensive iPhone variant that comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner.

Sullivan repeated the FSF’s earlier attacks on closed system and proprietary handsets, saying the new phones grant further power to software programs “whose operations are secret and 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',” he said.

Sullivan didn’t provide details, but he seemed to be referring to the Edward Snowden disclosure that spooks at the NSA and GCHQ had “broken” encryption on the web.

“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,” he added.

He used the iPhone launch to promote the FSF’s belief that only “free” software on phones can be trusted, saying:

The first step is rejecting Apple’s restrictions.

It was the FSF's president, Richard Stallman, who marked the 2011 passing of Apple chief Steve Jobs by saying he was glad Jobs was gone because the Apple boss had exerted a "malign influence" on computing with his closed systems.

The FSF’s exec director also encouraged users to investigate the free Android fork called Replicant and the F-Droid application repository. ®

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