What is The Thin Line Between Business Intelligence And Data Privacy Violations That Web Scraping Operates On?

  • 26/09/2023

Web scraping is the process of extracting data and content from a website using automated software (or “bots”). The Open Web Application Security Foundation (OWASP) has classified this as an automatic threat as well. Data scraping differs from screen scraping in that it can copy data stored in databases as well as the underlying HTML codes, whereas screen scraping only copies pixels. But where does the line get drawn between data scraping for legitimate business needs and malevolent data scraping, which is bad for the company? The border appears to be getting fuzzier every day as more and more people try to portray web scraping as a genuine industry. Legal measures against web scraping are planned and vary by nation.

Legitimate Usage for Web Scraping

To understand the issue, it is necessary to first define a few acceptable use cases for web scraping. The first examples include web crawlers from search engines like Bingbot or Googlebot. They are utilized for three crucial tasks, including the crawl, index, and rank, which assist in building and maintaining a searchable index for websites. Other examples include market research firms gathering information from social media and online discussion boards, as well as price comparison websites gathering product details and costs from various online shops.

Illegitimate Usage for Web Scraping

What are a few examples of unauthorized use? The hippest definition of unauthorized web scraping is “the collection of data from specific websites without the owner’s consent.” The two most prevalent instances of illicit use are content scraping and price scraping. Price scraping typically entails rival companies stealing your rates in an effort to undercut you and win the market. Businesses suffer as a result of a decline in price-related SEO searches. However, selling any products or services is not necessary for extraction bots to target you. Theft of proprietary information could be as evil. Content scraping is outright content theft on a large scale, and if your content appears elsewhere online, it will negatively affect your SEO rankings.

A Legitimate Business

All of the allegedly operating companies offer competitive insights, alternative data, and pricing intelligence for the finance industry. In addition, the pressure on industries to purchase extracted data has increased. No organization wants to lose revenue, especially because the competitor has access to data that can be purchased. The growth of job advertising looking for candidates to fill up positions with titles like Web Data Scraping Specialist or Web Data Extraction Specialist is another indication that data scraping is being attempted to gain legitimacy.

What will Be next Regarding Web Scraping?

This condition presents organizations with a difficult moral dilemma. The vast majority of them are aware that failing to employ particular strategies may put them at a disadvantage, which is why there is a good chance that they will eventually adopt those strategies. Especially when considering that no robust legal action is being taken to put a stop to the data scraping operations that are currently being carried out, it is difficult to imagine that particular bot problem going away any time soon in a setting where ongoing efforts are made to legalize web scraping. This makes it even more unlikely that the problem will go away any time soon.

Frequently asked questions

What is the risk associated with web scraping?

Phishers that gather data through Web Scraping have the potential to exploit such data to make their phishing attacks more effective. They are able to determine not only which of the company’s employees are vulnerable to these kinds of attacks but also the positions within the company that they can exploit, thanks to scraping.

What is data scraping from the web?

Web scraping is the automated method of gathering structured web data. Another name for it is web data extraction. Web scraping has many uses, but some of the most common ones are lead generation, market research, news monitoring, price monitoring, and price intelligence.

What is the purpose of data scraping?

Importing data from websites into documents or spreadsheets is known as data scraping, also known as web scraping. Data is taken from the web and reused on other websites or used for the scraping operator’s personal use. There are several software programs available that can automate data scraping.

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