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Oxylabs Forms a Pro-bono Partnership With the University of Michigan

Oxylabs Forms a Pro-bono Partnership With the University of Michigan

Gabija Birgile

2022-05-31

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Ethical web scraping is becoming an essential part of businesses across multiple industries, however, there are still many open questions regarding the legal matters. They bring uncertainty about what is legal and what is not when gathering public web data. 

Oxylabs partnered with the University of Michigan, ranked as the No.1 public university in the United States, and School of Information professor Christopher Brooks to share expertise in the field of ethical web scraping.

To help students better understand the complex subject of ethical web scraping, Oxylabs shared its resources – a panel discussion about web scraping from a legal perspective. Furthermore, the Oxylabs legal team prepared an in-depth lecture with up-to-date insights and potential legal ramifications that might come up while scraping. Both educational resources were integrated into the University's graduate courses and are open to the University of Michigan community. 

These are the first steps in a planned long-term collaboration that would bring value to the University of Michigan students.

Why making a difference matters

As web scraping becomes a common and necessary practice for organizations across multiple industries, there still remains uncertainty around its legality. It is difficult for governments to regulate such a difficult to grasp market. 

Thus, the web scraping market is probably better off left at the hands of tech-savvy courts and those who know how to regulate it best: ethical web scrapers themselves. It’s essential to educate students who are only getting acquainted with web scraping with the legal implications and risks. When starting their careers and using it in practice, they can implement web scraping operations with the highest standards and commitment to compliance. 

Ethics in web scraping is another important subject. As a leader of ethical solutions and tools in the industry, Oxylabs invites both other market professionals and students to engage in discussion about ethics and its boundaries in terms of public data collection to positively shape the future of the maturing, but often misunderstood web scraping industry.

Session for future experts 

Denas Grybauskas, Head of Legal at Oxylabs, presented an invited lecture, "Oops I Scraped. Should I Hire a Lawyer?", followed by an in-depth Q&A session held online with students enrolled in the "Introduction to Sports Analytics" course as part of the Master of Applied Data Science degree through the School of Information.

"As industry leaders, we apply strict standards of ethics and transparency to all our business operations. Since there are no laws created for the purpose of scraping, it is our responsibility to be all eyes and ears on every legal case related to the industry. We work hard to ensure fair market practices and that everything functions according to relevant laws. We believe that sharing knowledge on this matter will eventually help shape and shine a positive light on the ethical web scraping industry."

– Denas Grybauskas, Head of Legal at Oxylabs

During the session, Denas introduced the primary regulations of the market, its key elements, advantages and disadvantages of web scraping. He then answered important questions related to data ownership and personal data sensitivity. Finally, he presented the most relevant legal cases related to the web scraping industry. 

Later on, students learned about the latest developments, got acquainted with the scraping heat map that helps evaluate risk, and deepened their knowledge about ethical web scraping and the values of Oxylabs.

"Data scientists often find themselves scraping data and are hopeful no one asks too many questions. The partnership with Oxylabs has allowed us to root the discussion of what actions are appropriate in the legal precedents formed over the last twenty years. Instead of avoiding the topic as taboo, we can address it head on in the context of our curriculum."

– Christopher Brooks, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan

The collaboration started with sharing resources about legal matters in the industry. In the future, according to the needs of the University, Oxylabs is ready to provide insights into the technical side of web scraping – hold workshops and offer hands-on experience by sharing public web data gathering solutions for educational purposes.

Partner with Oxylabs

"We see great value in sharing our years of experience and our knowledge in the field of web scraping with the academic community. It's significant for the industry leaders to give a hands-on learning experience for students who will soon potentially join our industry, perhaps become our market colleagues, and will shape the future of the big data industry."

– Julius Černiauskas, CEO at Oxylabs

Changing the digital world for the better and giving back to the community are at the heart of Oxylabs values. Oxylabs is always on the lookout to provide pro bono support to educational and research initiatives, as well as organizations working to make a positive impact in society with our expertise and public web data gathering solutions.

If you're interested in partnering with us, drop us a line via partnerships@oxylabs.io or fill in the partnership contact form, and we will get back to you in the following days.

About the author

Gabija Birgile

PR Manager

Gabija Birgile is a PR Manager at Oxylabs. After working in a PR agency and juggling various projects for quite some time, she wanted to try a role in the tech industry. Making a positive impact with her work was always on top of her mind, so managing pro bono partnerships now definitely does the job. If you have a project in mind, drop her a message at partnerships@oxylabs.io.

All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an "as is" basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website's terms of service or receive a scraping license.

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  • Why making a difference matters

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