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Exploring the Ethics of Proxy Use: Creating a Safe and Trustworthy Data Environment

Data safety starts with awareness. Compliance is not enough. Now more than ever, it is important to be both legal and ethical when working with data – especially when providing access to publicly available data. As questions around the legality and ethics of data collection abound, it’s crucial we look at how tools like proxies are used – and not just at what they are technically able to do.

In this week’s episode of Ethical Data, Explained Henry Ng, Dmitry Shkolnikov, and Alex Smirnoff explores what it means to be a trustworthy ethical data provider.

To Proxy or Not to Proxy: An Introduction to the Controversial World of Proxies

In the realm of ethical data, the accessibility to information is increasing rapidly. Although compliance with regulations is a fundamental starting point and a foundation for safety, it is insufficient to rely on a single party to ensure safety in data aggregation and collection. All parties involved must assume responsibility for maintaining safety and secure use of data. Educating individuals on the safe sourcing of publicly available data is just as important as ensuring that the data is legal and ethical. Proxy providers such as SOAX are contributing to the development of clear safeguards for both data providers and sources by implementing an educational system and checks.

“Proxies are often associated with malware and other equally harmful things but I think it's a wrong approach. Computers are also associated with malware but no one blames them in anything bad. Proxies are simply a tool that helps people from different countries access and collect data for the public good. It's not about anonymity or anything negative”.
Dmitry Shkolnikov

Proxies are not about anonymity, but rather a tool to help people access and collect data for public good. They aim not become a tool for bad actors and is proactive about security and data privacy for customers. At the same time proxy provider’s aim is not to collect user data rather than prioritize keeping both customers and partners safe. This is achieved through technical limitations and the use of great servers.

Data Safety: The Double-Edged Sword of Protecting User Privacy and Safeguarding Data Sources

The notion of data privacy and raising awareness about safeguarding it could be perceived as a two-sided issue. On one hand, individuals aim to utilize tools and gather data, while on the other hand, data is being collected and sourced from individuals and that can be used for both good and bad purposes. From a technical standpoint, it's difficult to determine how the data will be used. Therefore, a thorough investigation of the customer's business model and intentions is necessary to identify whether they can use proxy services or not. If a company intends to misuse the data or engage in malicious activities, access is denied. On the other hand, if they're a legitimate business creating products that will benefit the community, they're granted access. An example of such a scenario is price monitoring, where the data packages are encrypted, and the data content is unknown. It's impossible to tell if the data will be used for market intelligence or to bruteforce merchant accounts of marketplaces. In such cases, the compliance team requests more information about the company and scrutinizes their track record to determine if they're trustworthy before granting access to proxy services.

Ensuring Transparency and Ethics in Data Utilization and Proxy Tools: Best Practices for Providers, Players, and Resellers in the Data and Proxy Markets

In terms of improving transparency and security, it is important for providers to have a database of bad actors and implement KYC checks based on ethical principles. Transparency should be maintained for both players and providers in the market, and end suppliers of proxy services should be fully informed and involved in the partnership. Resellers also should implement the same KYC policies and regulations as the original proxy and not have lighter regulations. It is important for proxies to have open conversations with reseller partners and provide suggestions to ensure transparency on all sides and on each step of the supply chain.

It is essential to ensure that everyone involved is aware of the data collection process and that proper measures are in place to protect them. The use of proxy services should always be done with the individual's consent, as there are providers that use botnets instead. It is crucial to maintain ethical standards, check partners to ensure that the practices are ethical, and take the lead in raising awareness with their direct customers and promoting the idea of ethical use cases. Ultimately, the aim is to create a safer way to utilize data and improve the use of proxies by promoting awareness and education.
That’s it for today’s episode of our podcast. To find out more, tune in to the full of this week’s episode! You can find links to Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, YouTube on the official podcast webpage - Ethical Data, Explained

If you do have any questions please feel free to reach out to us and if you have any questions around proxies or data we are happy to answer any of those thank you very much. See you next time!

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