Is Web Scraping Legal in 2022? What Are the Legal Issues?

There is a significant demand for Big data in the market. In recent years, Big data revenue has grown dramatically. One of the most common big data collection methods is web scraping. Many data scientists and big companies use web scrapers to extract data. It lets them gather data for market research, investment opportunities, and product development.

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from a website. This data is exported into a spreadsheet or API and is used for various purposes. 

Web scraping can be done, both manually or by using automated tools. According to a study, around 50% of the websites are visited for data scraping purposes only. This is why users often have to go through ‘Are you Human Tests’ to prove that they are not an unwanted bot. 

But the much-debated question here is, is web scraping legal? 

Here’s the Answer to Is Web Scraping Legal?

Yes, web scraping is legal if done by following the site’s privacy, terms of service, and conditions. So web scraping isn’t exactly illegal. Its legality depends upon what data is being extracted and how it will be used. 

Web scraping is illegal if non-publicly available data is being extracted. Some data’ are protected by international regulations. Like personal data, confidential data, and intellectual property data.

Respect the website privacy rules. 

Web scraping has been in the market for a long time being used for good. It’s the backbone of the internet. The ‘Good Bots’ use search engines for price comparison, and web content indexing to save the consumer money. Whereas, the ‘Bad Bots’ get data from websites with the wrong intent. The data is then used for online theft, account hacking, digital fraud, intellectual property theft, etc.

If you need web data, Get in touch with Alnusoft. Our web scraping experts team can extract data from any website. Book a free call today!

Is Data Scraping Legal?

Scraping data publicly available on the website is legal as long as the data is not used for wrong purposes.

Social media platforms are prone to wrong intended data scraping. It is because users share loads of identifiable information on Facebook and Instagram. Personal data from social media profiles can be extracted. It includes a person’s full name, address, phone number, email address, and workplace details. Cybercriminals can then use these details for harassing an individual. Or targeting employees compromising networks for ransomware.

Existing Laws Of Web Scraping or Data Scraping 

  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA): Do not use data in an abusive fashion for personal gain. For example, computer hackers fetching data via unauthorized access is illegal.
  • Copyright Infringement: Some companies may have the data protected by copyrights. Using that data for business purposes is a violation of copyrights.
  • Trespass to Chattel: Entering a prohibited digital space. Then doing anything that harms the website is a legal offense. If the website server stops or even slows down due to scraping, you have violated the trespass to chattel.
  • Crawl Rate: Use a reasonable crawl rate, while scraping websites. Websites are designed for human use. If you will send aggressive requests to the website, it might bring down the server, which is illegal. The normal crawl rate is 1 request per 10-15 seconds.
  • Terms of Service (TOS): Always follow the TOS of a website.  If the TOS clearly says scraping is not allowed. You should take permission, otherwise, it’s illegal.
  • Use the Given API: If the API is given, use that instead of scraping data. If you scrape data in any other way that harms the website, it is wrong.
  • Only Access Public Content: Only scrape the data that’s available in the public domain. And do not re-publish it for any financial gain. Also, you should not access or scrape the prohibited hidden data. 

Can You Get In Trouble for Web Scraping?

No. there is no law in America or elsewhere, which considers web scraping illegal. So does that mean web scraping is legal? 

Well, it clearly depends on what data you are scraping and how you will use that data. 

Web Scraping is just a data extraction tool. A tool cannot be illegal or legal. It is the use of that tool that can be either legal or illegal. 

Dangers of Web scraping

Yes, Data scraping is not illegal. Recognized servers like Amazon AWS are providing secure web scraping tools like APIs. Like any other information, if scraped data falls into the wrong hands. It can get dangerous. 

Like, the Facebook scraped data leak incident. The hacked Facebook database had personal data of the users including their phone numbers and email addresses. If the cybercriminals get hold of it. They might use it for fraud or phishing. 

Likewise looking at the LinkedIn scraped data leak. The data might seem less interesting to cyber criminals. But, it might open doors to spear phishing attacks. Hackers might learn about the company’s ongoing projects and their superior’s name. They might blackmail the employees for personal gain. 

Is Web Scraping Legal in the US?

Yes, Web Scraping is legal in the United States. It is supported by the decision of a recent law case between HiQ vs LinkedIn. This case confirmed that scraping available data from social media is legal in the USA.

Under California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s okay to use the information made publicly available by the government. You can scrape that personal data as long as you don’t harm the website.  

In 2023, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) might come into effect. It will broaden the scope of CCPA. According to CPRA, the data made public by a subject will not be protected data anymore. It will legally allow the scraping of personal data from Facebook and LinkedIn. Only in California, not in the entire United States.


Well, scraping data from a website is inevitable. Big data is important for making decisions for investments and business growth. And the only efficient way is web scraping. The question is, how to scrape data respecting the privacy terms and conditions of a website. Respect website norms while scraping data, or be ready for legal trouble. And make sure the scraped data stays in the right hands.

If you need web data, Get in touch with Alnusoft. Our web scraping experts team can extract data from any website. Book a free call today!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *