The Ethics of Web Scraping: Best Practices for Extracting Text Responsibly

  • 27/02/2023

The Ethics of Web Scraping: Best Practices for Extracting Text Responsibly

With access to the internet, everyone has easy admission to every piece of information available online. Web surfers look up the internet for many reasons, like inspiration, ideas, information, references, and more. Such a process of deriving information from someone else's platform is known as web scraping. And we extract text from web pages on a daily basis. That is how the system of data sharing works.

However, is it ethically and legally right to do so? Is the information available on the internet free to use for everyone? The answer is not a direct yes or no. Let's find out how.

Is Web Scraping Ethical?

When we look around, we can extract data from the internet through web scraping with the help of the best web scraping services USA. If scraping is possible, clearly, it has to be legal and ethical in some way or the other. However, it depends on the type of data you scrape, the purpose of web scraping, the methods of web scraping implemented, and the use of the scraped information.

The definitions of a data set's nature and the terms and conditions to access, store, and consume it vary depending on the web owner. Therefore, it is essential to verify these regulations and follow the methods of ethical scraping before asking how to extract all text from a website. As we move on to understand the ways of ensuring ethical web scraping, let's take a quick glance at the types of data.

Personal Data

If a website provides information on the stock market index, fuel price alterations, a new infrastructure proposal by the government, or any such public-oriented details, it won't qualify for personal information. Hence, the idea of extracting text from websites with such data may seem legitimate.

However, any dataset that might navigate to the identification of any individual will qualify as personal data. Such information can not be used for any commercial motivations that may include sales, promotions, marketing, or any equivalent activity.


Imagine putting in weeks of effort writing a beautiful song, composing it, and publishing it online just to have people use it for their commercial uses. That's when copyrights come into the picture. Every piece of content available that is available but copyrighted is illegal and unethical to mirror and use.

Every visit to a website takes a sort of confirmation, a box that you tick. This is a way for web owners to track your access to their information and motives to extract text from websites of their data.

Now, what are the real ways of ensuring your scraping acts are legal?

Take Only What You Need

Web portals allow free information willingly and are aware of scraping possibilities. Do not abuse the privileges and utilize only the relevant data to your objective. Another perspective to avoid hoarding data is to maintain the authenticity of the data. Perhaps, what you store today in anticipation of future use may not be relevant tomorrow.

Respect Robots.txt

In the times when cyber loopholes were in abundance, the invention of a much-necessary Robots.txt file. Robots.txt essentially navigates the crawlers to the pages that allow them to extract all text from a website.

Web scraping services USA know the best ways to respect these boundaries and operate only within the permissible areas making them the ideal resources for any web scraping project.

Confirm Copyright Status

A copyright is a strict policy to restrict the duplication of information and materials. Before accessing any information from a portal, have a comprehensive evaluation of the guidelines from the web page owners. If you repost any copyrighted content scraped from a portal, it may follow legal actions from the owners.

Access Only Public Information

As discussed, information like stock reports and political news is meant for the public and is not indicated to an individual or any entity. Using only public information is the safest bet for the ones who extract text from websites.

Offer Credits

Direct use of information on your portals could imply that you are in ownership of the material. Instead, provide due credit to the primary owners of the data to avoid conflict and a sense of false ownership. This way, not only can you express authenticity by displaying information from a legitimate portal, but you also create a humble relationship with the owner of the information.

Protect Your Identity

We have already established the fact that websites can know who is accessing their information. In such a case, would it not be more intelligent to conceal your identity that diminishes the possibility of suspicion?

A regular visit to a web page leaves a trail of history. Your IP address is the trail that can be detected. Staying under the radar is possible by limiting fingerprinting, adopting proxies, adding CAPTCHAS solver, and more. All these tools are available with robust web scraping services USA.

Let's get a quick summary of the points to remember as a web scraper who wants to comply with the requisites of ethical web scraping.

  • Do not share any information provided to you for internal and classified uses.
  • Always opt for a public API whenever available.
  • Do not save unnecessary information if not required. Understand the transactional detailing and restrict your access till the points of disclosure.
  • Web scraping is allowed to share value-adding information. Therefore, utilize that information to create a better value-adding unit of information.
  • Collaborate with the data host with mentions and traffic diversion toward them in return to access to their data.
  • Be honest about the requirements while requesting access to any host.

Wrapping Up

Extract all text from a website or even past the same as quoted on the web page as long as you comply with the terms and conditions penned down by the webpage owners. The process of data acquisition works by data sharing, enlightenment, and inspiration, and none of the uses of such information could be questionable. It's not difficult to understand and scrutinize the process of ethical web scraping before starting the process.

If you are looking for a web scraping services USA provider who will extract data in compliance with the ethics of web scraping, BotScraping is your right choice. As a reputed USA-based web scraping services provider, BotScraping offers data extraction services that are certified for compliance with international laws and regulations. Get in touch with the team today to get started!

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