Are Proxy Servers Illegal?

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Are Proxy Servers Illegal

Proxies can help you deliver business objectives and keep your project safe from the criminally-minded individuals online. 

However, the usage of a proxy server is debatable to some people, and others are even calling for its outright ban, arguing that it should not be in the scheme of the business environment. 

If you are in doubt of whether using a proxy server for your business is legal, this article will sketch the main points of how to avoid using proxies illegally. 

What is a Proxy?

A proxy stands between you and the internet. All of your web requests pass through it, and your IP automatically changes to that of the proxy before connecting to the destination website. Therefore, it protects your company’s data and keeps hackers away. To learn more, be sure to read an in-depth Oxylabs explanation of what is a proxy.

There are different types of proxies. Let’s take a look at a few for now — datacenter and residential proxies.

What are Datacenter Proxies?

Datacenter proxies are proxies that have no affiliation with Internet Service Providers. They emanate from a Secondary Corporation and avail you with private IP authentication.

Datacenter proxies offer three core benefits:

  • They have a fast response rate.
  • They feature a high level of anonymity.
  • They are cheap compared to other types of proxies.

Datacenter proxies come in handy for brand protection, market research, and email protection.

What are Residential Proxies?

Residential proxies come from ISPs to homeowners. The IP is real and is associated with a physical location. Each time you change your residence, your ISP will set you up with a new IP address for your internet needs.

Residential proxies offer three main benefits: 

  • High anonymity level.
  • Perfect for data harvesting.
  • Very difficult to detect.

Residential proxies are excellent for ad verification, price scraping and much more.

When is a Proxy Illegal?

There are circumstances where a proxy server becomes illegal. A classic example is a streaming site that allows only paid subscribers to access their content. If you’re not a paid subscriber and try to gain access to the site on a proxy server, that would be illegal.

There are so many illegitimate proxy providers out there — each of them connected with a wide range of countries. However, to avoid negative consequences for your business, it is essential to choose your proxy provider carefully. 

Most of these illegitimate proxy providers will not allow an HTTPS connection. That is a high-security loophole, and as a business entity, you don’t want to leave your data unprotected. Moreover, their proxies are very slow, and that could play a significant role in your business. If you’re using such proxy providers, you are risking to lose economic and data resources. 

Is Web Scraping Legal?

Web scraping is not illegal, even if some people have a contrary view. What might appear to be unlawful is when you use it without the permission of the website.

Startups need data to be competitively favorable, so they will go the extra mile to achieve their business objectives. Even the big companies leverage web scrapers to gather data and move to the frontlines, which is legal in every sense.

On the other hand, it becomes illegal when you scrape the website of your competitor without any prior permission, or you flagrantly disregard their TOS.

If you scrape publicly available data, it is not illegal. If that were the case, searching for information on different search engines would be unlawful. But if you copy such data from another website to yours, it might go against the site’s operating rules. So it is essential to apply caution when collecting data on the internet in order not to step on toes.

Proxy servers will remain legal as long as you stay within the ambit of the law. The illegal use of these tools may put your business in an awkward position and at the mercy of those seeking the slightest way to strike you.

Scrape with the right tools, use proxies ethically — of course, with the right people at the helm — and move your business to the highest.

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