* * * Then again, some people could care less whether they’re on camera or not.
“They love that Internet bench,” Funch says, comparing it to people in the same room watching television, conversation naturally springing from their shared entertainment.
“They would hang out in the chat room on the Internet bench as if they were there and just chat with each other.” Some of the feeds on Opentopia are the usual cutesy Internet suspects, like the camera in the cat room of DOGSASPEN, an animal shelter in Colorado, which offers a kind of scavenger hunt to find the sly creatures.
A Japanese school marching band practices its routine, forming straight lines that break and twist into different formations, then packs up and empties the gymnasium.
A scroll through the site Opentopia offers hundreds of such views from publicly available cameras streaming online — more than 820 in the U. alone — silently gazing over public parks, into waiting rooms, on front porches.
Take the camera of Susan Dennis, one of Opentopia’s most popular feeds.
Her living room is a close runner-up for most frequently viewed, with more than 128,000 views since the site has been counting and nearly 800 comments on her page. Fuji reigns in the site’s top spot.) According to Funch, Dennis’ camera is one of the more contentious ones on the site because people assume that if it’s in her living room, it’s snooping or invading her privacy.A half-dozen puppies pounce, leap and roll, chasing each other around an indoor playroom.A young man in a gray beanie gets digitally fingerprinted by a Boston cop.Flemming Funch, who created the basic format of the site in a single weekend, followed a whim of listing and displaying feeds from webcams through automated searches, finding cameras that, as he says, were perhaps not meant to be public.“Part of the intrigue is that we’re never totally sure.His curiosity and openness can make him seem like a gold prospector in the Wild West of the open Internet: sifting through search engines and laying out whatever is publicly available for all to see, not concerning himself much with what happens on the feeds, so long as they are available to watch.