Ethical Web Data Collection Initiative Launches Certification Program

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The Ethical Web Data Collection Initiative (EWDCI) is an industry-led consortium of web data collectors focused on strengthening public trust, promoting ethical guidelines, and helping businesses and their customers make informed data extraction choices. The association aims to raise the bar for ethics in the process widely known as “data scraping” with the goal of enhancing trust—a key component of a free, fair, and open Internet. This international, industry-led, and member-driven consortium is announcing an accreditation program developed to bring greater accountability and build consumer confidence in the data collection industry.

The EWDCI accreditation program was recently announced wherein eligible companies can receive an EWDCI Certified designation. All companies that receive the EWDCI Certified designation are showing the world that they adhere to these agreed-upon principles and the highest degree of ethics when collecting public web data, while also further advancing the industry’s best practices and accountability.

Companies may apply to become EWDCI Certified. We encourage companies who collect and manage web data to join the consortium—and, most importantly, join the conversation to further develop these principles. The inaugural group of web data aggregators that have earned EWDCI accreditation includes Coresignal, Oxylabs, ProxyEmpire, Rayobyte, Smartproxy, and Zyte.

The EWDCI Certified designation isn’t so much the result of our work but rather the culmination of the first stage of a longer process. The web data collection industry is still young, but it’s growing very quickly. As more data-hungry AI tools fall into corporate and private hands, there is a limited opportunity to shape how data-collection practices are developed and perceived. This is why the EWDCI is dedicated to defining positive and beneficial uses of the important abilities and potential of data collection and aggregation at scale.

The EWDCI is now focused on furthering the consortium’s mission and scope of practice through the acquisition of public commentary on various topics, which include:

  • How scraped data can be used to ethically train large language models (LLMs) and generative AI models
  • Government access to data and due process
  • Balance between scrapers and target websites
  • Privacy compliance when scraping personal data
  • Preventing tactics that undermine consent and consumer choice
  • Anti-stalkerware efforts

“The EWDCI seal is a crucial stamp of approval, but it’s also a way to build industry-led influence with a clear goal of making the free and open Internet a better and safer place,” said Christian Dawson, Executive Director of the i2Coalition.

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