There is a utility website witch I presumed used a backend API. There is no authentication or anything on the website, it's just for public use. Now, I want to build a mobile app that makes use of the API. So I used good old Chrome debugger to see all XHR requests and responses going in and out. I figured out and listed down the API calls. Some use an API key (clearly visible in debugger captured request headers), and some don't need the key- they work with or without it.

There are no terms of usage on the site, or copy-write conditions, or anything of that sort, nothing. There is obviously no publicly documented API for the API that it is using either.

Whats my situation here with using the API even for personal use? The mobile app is not for commercial use. It's for my own use. Is what I'm doing legal?

  • No offense my man, but what is the legal question here. This is a infosec question if anything.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30 '19 at 16:22
  • @Putvi no offence at all. Question is ‘Is what I’m doing legal?’ Funny thing is a few hours ago I was thinking that I didn’t actually ask an explicit question here lol. So you’re right.
    – pnizzle
    Oct 30 '19 at 20:45
  • Yeah, why wouldn't it be legal. You aren't hacking or anything. That's why I am saying it's not a legal question. It's an infosec question ihmo, because the only things you could really question is if the site should be set up in that way.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30 '19 at 20:48

To put this in answer form, yes you can make API calls to a website and it's not illegal even if they do not have a system for other developers to do so as long as you don't hack.

It only becomes a crime if you hack something. https://grassodefense.com/federal-hacking-laws/

  • I am in Australia by the way. So hopefully your input applies here too.
    – pnizzle
    Oct 30 '19 at 22:22
  • I am not Australian. I am from the U.S., but it should apply there. The worst they will tell you is don't do it again.
    – Putvi
    Oct 30 '19 at 22:24
  • Interested. Sure, I'll read that article. Interesting thing is there is supposed to be a public API, the documentation link is there, but it does not work anymore. It does look however as though the website I'm playing with uses another private api. Anyway, I'm dragging. Cheers
    – pnizzle
    Oct 30 '19 at 22:26

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