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Is web crawling legal?

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Ana Quil

01-07-2022

Using this data, machines can be used to record what the human eye sees. This usually takes the form of web scraping, in which algorithms copy data from web pages and impersonate people. But more recently, data capture has been used to replicate large amounts of public information about individuals on social media. Although such information is not initially secret, attackers using data capture techniques can create large, ordered data sets for sale.


Is the data obtained legally?

In theory, network scraping is legal. Suppose you copy and paste text from a free resource like an encyclopedia and decide to write an automated script to simplify your work. It's perfectly legal and doesn't hurt anyone.

However, many sites have explicit rules against data access, but the consequences of violating those rules can be very different. If the crawl object is small, you may not be able to access its services. But you could also face a lawsuit, especially if it's big enough to affect the bottom line.


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