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Zoopla makes me snoopa on Liam and Cheryl

worries about data protection with ZooplaI was standing outside Liam Payne's house the other Sunday. Not in a stalker way, I'd like to point out, quite by chance. We were staying with friends who live in a nearby road and were on the way to the village pub for lunch, actually.

Liam was obviously at home. (You know, the singer with One Direction. Not Harry Styles, one of the others and going out with Cheryl: come on, keep up!) We could tell he was in residence because he was playing dance music so loudly you could hear it from 500 metres away.

Well, if you're going to advertise your presence like that, you're going to get unwelcome attention, aren't you? I pressed my nose between the shiny black bars of the (very tall and spiky) electric gates and couldn't see a thing. The whole property's hidden behind a screen of bushes and trees. Liam could probably see my squashed features on his CCTV but I was certainly none the wiser. Great security: his house contents insurer must be proud. Kim Kardashian could keep her rocks safe in this gaff, no problem.

So off I trotted to scoff my roast and thought no more about it. Until today when I noticed that Liam and Cheryl have sort of confirmed they are having a baby. Yes, old news, I'm not keeping up either. Good for them, and as a prospective mum I would be thrilled at the thought of being able to bring up the kid in a lovely house like that. It must have cost a pretty penny though...

My thoughts, and fingertips, turned to Zoopla. Within seconds I had the property details from the last time it was sold, only a few years ago. About 18 photos too. Lovely garden, swimming pool and tennis court, just what you'd expect for a millionaire pop star. I'd change that fitted study though, yuck, and the kitchen didn't look all that fancy. Then I realised what I was doing: snooping like the paparazzi I am.

If I can pry on Liam this easily, other people must be able to check out Minted HQ with the same minimal effort. Burglars don't even need to case the joint or send a drone over the garden; you can get the exact layout of the house and its entry points off the internet from the comfort of your own armchair. I'm never going to have the problem of Directioners hanging around my doorstep but I'm uncomfortable that anyone can see into my home without my knowing. I'm sure the websites take all the precautions necessary but you have to wonder: are these property websites actually a massive security risk?

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Wednesday, 24 April 2019