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Media Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

'Scrapers' Dig Deep For Data On Web 158

srwellman writes "The practice of Web 'scraping' is growing as many firms offer to collect personal, and potentially incriminating, data about users from their social networking profiles and discussions. Many companies even collect online conversations and personal details from social networks, job sites and forums where people might discuss their lives and even potentially sensitive data, such as health issues. These scrapers operate in a legal grey area leaving many users exposed." We ban scrapers like this regularly here simply for not adhering to the rules spelled out in robots.txt.
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'Scrapers' Dig Deep For Data On Web

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  • by billrp ( 1530055 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @12:50PM (#35809518)
    "We ban scrapers like this regularly here simply for not adhering to the rules spelled out in robots.txt." Hah! robots.txt doesn't stop any decent crawler
  • Re:Like Google? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @01:16PM (#35809838)

    The battle for online privacy was lost long ago.

    Only because one side of the battle never bothered to fight. Nobody was forced to go to social networking websites and post their life story, anyone could encrypt their email and IM conversations, and ad blocking software is widely available. Large amounts of the information that these companies are aggregating could have been made far more difficult to obtain if the majority of computer users could have been bothered.

    Sadly, the Internet has become more of an adversarial game than a way to unite people.

  • by sakti ( 16411 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @01:29PM (#35810056) Homepage

    IMO it's better to have an easy to find public 'you' online for these people to track. You use that for everything 'safe'. You then use multiple anonymous accounts for anything you don't want tracked.

    If you have nothing tracking online I think it might start looking more suspicious than not. Plus having nothing might encourage 'them' to dig in and try to relate you to your anonymous account(s).

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2011 @02:21PM (#35810616) Journal

    Wow, that's pretty inappropriate for an interviewer to require you to open your personal family or friends circle to him. What if my family is discussing my alcoholic father, my pregnant niece, my HIV+ friend, and my habit of killing interviewers and burying them in my backyard?

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.