Legality of web scraping

17 April 2023

Being an infrastructure of proxies, Astro works as a dependable and credible partner in terms of data harvesting, running a pool of geo targeted proxies, including proxies for social networks, in over one hundred countries. And as long as the issue of legality of web scraping with proxies is important for many, people ask our platform about legal aspects of web scraping. Today, our team will try to address a range of popular misconceptions. We will attempt to explain why it’s OK to scrape data and why you can start a rotating proxies free trial for new users. 

Popular misconceptions concerning scraping via geo targeted proxies 

It is illegal or associated with gray areas of the law. It depends on what one scrapes and how. Such activities resemble taking photographs via a smartphone. In 99% of cases it is not a problem. If people take pictures of restricted areas or confidential docs and papers of their bosses, one can expect issues. 

It is like hacking. Cyber intrusions imply trying to gain access to a system and its data via non-standard ways. When it comes to web scrapers, they interact with web pages the way regular users would, in an automated fashion. No flaws or tech vulnerabilities are exploited.

It is like stealing data. Scraping means gathering publicly available info. Can publicly available things be stolen? The answer is no. 

Principles of ethical scraping via geo targeted proxies

Let’s assume you contact us for a rotating proxies free trial or to purchase proxies for social networks or webpages. Before you start, double-check if your scraping program matches applicable laws and ethics. Here are the main ones: 

  • Scrapers do not intend to overload the targeted page;
  • Info obtained is publicly accessible and is not protected by passwords;
  • Data must be used ethically, say, for product-related or pricing analysis. Do not seek to impersonate the target webpage or lure away its visitors; 
  • Information scraped does not belong to the type personal and sensitive. 

Yes, this is an important fact to mind. While there is no problem with harvesting publicly available data, if personal data is also publicly available, some jurisdictions impose restrictions on gathering it. In addition, copyrighted data is also excluded from what is allowed to be harvested. 

Attempt to scrape as little personal data as possible. Info pertaining to identified persons is a no-go direction to follow. Data pertaining to identifiable persons is a more complicated matter depending on jurisdictions. 

While using our ecosystem’s geo targeted proxies, avoid such pieces of info as: 

  • Official data, e.g. first and second names, date of birth, places of registration and residence, ID numbers, and employment-related data; 
  • Contact info, e.g. cell phone number and emails; 
  • Data gathered by apps on users’ behavior patterns; 
  • Biometric data. 

In case you accidentally grab such data, do not publish and store it. Better delete it. The same holds true for copyrighted content. 

Our platform seeks to collaborate with law-abiding businesses adhering to applicable KYC/AML norms. Covering 100+ countries, our team does its best to make sure that our geo targeted proxies (including proxies for social networks) are used in accordance with ethics and regulations. If you need data for business and science purposes, with no intention to infringe intellectual property rights or personal data protection norms, feel free to contact us. Astro’s customer service, knowledge base, articles, and high-level proxies will serve companies 24/7.


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