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The Deeply Private Information Hidden in Plain Sight

A project mapping every pool in Los Angeles raises awkward questions about the tradeoff between privacy and big, public data.
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Benedikt Groß and Joseph Lee

More than 20,000 people have virtually peeked over the fence at 2202 Orange Grove Avenue in Los Angeles, despite the obvious efforts of the owner to keep voyeurs out. They've spied the Italian cypress trees that grow there and the weird, amoeba-shaped pool. It measures 3.6 meters by 11.6 meters. That's pretty middling in size for the pools around town, not too ostentatious but not all that drought-friendly, either.

You can peer at the pool yourself in this video (at about the one-minute mark) from researchers Benedikt Groß and Joseph Lee: