Does Bot Use Need Tighter External Regulations and Guidelines?

A recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne in conjunction with Bright Data aimed at US and UK decision-makers from financial services, IT, and technology organizations, looks into the increased role bots play in automating key corporate functions, including customer service, web data collection, and more, as well as the thirst for tighter regulations.
4 min read
Rogue Bots on the Loose- Does Bot Use Need Tighter External Regulations and Guidelines

The most common uses of bots

As you probably know, the digital world is fast replacing human contact with virtual assistants and automation. When was the last time you interacted with a bot while surfing the internet? While their existence evokes strong opinions for and against, their growing prevalence is undebatable.

Here is what our CTO, Ron Kol, had to say to City A.M:

“Bots are no longer just a futuristic ambition. It’s clear that they are now playing a crucial role in driving the real-time economy forward. Bot usage has been growing rapidly in recent years, and this research highlights the rising number of use cases for this vital technology.”

Let’s take a closer look at how bots are most commonly used:

Corporate Environments

When contacting customer services, often there is no person on the other side. Instead, a bot is handling your queries and feedback, automating the process, saving time, and lowering costs. In fact, 76% of surveyed organizations are using bots for their customer services, making corporate environments the most popular use case.


The second most popular bot use case may come as a surprise: 69% of UK and 48% of US respondents report using bots for web data-related applications. This can include anything from generating analytics responses from the data that bots have collected to even getting the bots to process large datasets.

Other Common Uses

The uses for bots are far from limited. With 95% of organizations surveyed planning to expand their automated functions, and with that bot usage, bots will become even more common in the next two years. Other common uses of bots revealed in the survey include cybersecurity (51%), the automation of backend tasks (35%), automated trading (23%), and social media engagement (22%).

Demand for guidelines and regulation

Like most technology, bots can also be exploited. However, overall, they add significant value to our lives, changing the way we work, saving businesses thousands of hours and significant sums per year, and streamlining user experiences.

Unfortunately, myths and misconceptions about this technology are rife. Often, the public hears about bad bots used by scalpers and those in DDoS attacks. Other irresponsible uses include sending spam and trying to obtain personal data.

So, given such instances of exploitation, should bots be regulated?

Currently, 47% of people in US organizations and 60% of those in the UK are happy with the current level of regulation. That being said, there is still room for improvement, as highlighted by the different approaches that different countries have taken to creating bot regulations. The research shows that 45% of US organizations and 33% of UK organizations are wanting to see increased external regulation of bots.

And who are creating their own guidelines?

In the US, 48% of those surveyed say they have guidelines in place to moderate all uses of bots, while another 48% say they have guidelines relating to some uses of bots. In the UK, these figures are 57% and 40%, respectively.

Meanwhile, of those surveyed, 96% and 97%, respectively, have created guidelines of some sort, with the UK leading on covering all uses. This suggests that organizations in both locations feel the need for guidelines and regulations.

Outsourcing bot operations

“Given that the bot space is so fast-moving, outsourcing bot operations makes it even easier for financial services, IT, and technology organizations to focus on what they excel at and leave the bot management to the professionals,” said our CTO, Ron Kol.

The statistics:

–          38% of US organizations and 19% of UK organizations outsource the majority of their bot operations

–          74% of UK organizations and 53% of US organizations outsource some of their bot operations

–          52% percent of US organizations and 50% of UK organizations say their IT team primarily dictates or controls the bots used in their organization

As we can see, outsourcing is a popular option. In fact, outsourcing some bot operations is very popular, which increases the need for regulations. This is specifically the case when organizations are, on average, only 50% in control of what their bots are doing.

The Bottom Line

“It’s no surprise that bot usage is growing within the data sector. For this to be both effective and sustainable, organizations need to be responsible when collecting public web data or choosing a third-party to do this for them – this includes advocating for increased global regulation.” Ron Kol, Bright Data CTO

Bots are a groundbreaking tech-forward tool that must be managed and comprehensively protected by each and every organization or business, similar to the way employee or customer identity is protected. To achieve that, we must establish an extensive framework so that valued bots are not compromised by malicious actors. 

Looking ahead, bots should only be used for the exact purpose they were created for – to make us all more efficient and effective, especially when accessing the vast pool of public web data.

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