How to Handle Scraping Issues Efficiently and Stay Focused and Legal

There is an ongoing debate on how much data can be scraped legally and how to prevent scrapers from accessing and gathering data about people without their knowledge. This and other web scraping issues have been bombarding the data mining world for years now. As an individual data miner or as a company that does it for profit, here are tips on how to handle these kinds of issues and stay focused and legal.

Since web scraping is an essential part of online success in business and research, you can do it with the following points of consideration: be responsible; stay within legal bounds; be ethical; and empathize with online users.

Be Responsible

It is expected of every mature individual to be responsible and accountable for every move he or she makes. This notion can amply be applied in the practice of data mining and every other online activity.

First, it must be understood that the Internet is generally a public domain. Every time you access it and make interactions with other users and sites, you are opening yourself to a wide array of possibilities. Thus, you must be careful with every data you share. Since you are putting yourself in a risky place, you have to be ready to face its consequences. This is not to say that anybody can simply have the freedom to your personal or company’s information. It is simply a reminder that you have to be responsible for your actions and to be able to safeguard your account by following expert advice.

Next, on the part of the scraper, you have to bear in mind that if you can access the information about people and organizations, it does not mean you can sell it and enjoy the profit at the expense of others. One of the best ways to show that you are scraping maturely and responsibly is for you to seek permission and inform the source that you are going to use their data. This may sound difficult and to some extent absurd but it is proper.

Third, selling others’ information is indeed ethically questionable; thus, you have to make your web scraping limited to what is permissible such as: keeping out people’s names; retrieving statistical information only; and by acknowledging the source of information. Many sites that can be accessed publicly such as online news and reports are considered public property but it always pays inform the source that you are using them or citing them for whatever purpose you may decide on.

Stay Within Legal Bounds

As a responsible scraper, you must understand the issues of privacy and confidentiality. You can use collected information for your own benefits but you have to bear in mind that you are not hurting or putting to harm anyone’s life and welfare. You can be the judge as to what specific data can be used for your own purposes and what data should be kept to protect the individuals or organizations you take it from or you are accessing. Beware of online theft; it can put your own reputation and credibility in jeopardy.

If you want to have a long-staying data mining experience, you have to use judgment in your online activities. Be aware of your own rights privileges so that you will not run into trouble and be subjected to existing cyber laws or be totally banned from using or accessing many good and sites.

Be Ethical

Practicing a sense of accountability for your web scraping activities is indeed necessary. Whatever it is that can harm others must be kept out of your system or public revelation. You may use them to predict trends and understand clients’ preferences; but you have to make sure that you are not revealing too much.

Ethics spring from respect of others’ rights and freedom. As earlier stated, whatever you put online are for others to view and enjoy. You lose a great portion of your privacy if you share any personal information online. Therefore, both the Internet user and the data miner must bear in mind that there is a need for mutual respect and a sense of accountability,

Empathize With Online Users

The best test of a good web scraper lies on his or her ability to understand others’ feelings and experience their fears and hurt. This attribute can make you scrape within bounds and still be able to benefit from the data mining activities as best as he or she could. Knowing the possible side effects of your action can improve your chances at getting the right information from the right sources.

Many of you may have felt how it is to be robbed or betrayed. These are usually the feelings of those whose information have been used without their knowledge or those who have inadvertently entered so much information online out of ignorance or sheer trust that they can still keep themselves anonymous.

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