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.In the near-decade that Opentopia has been active, only a handful of owners have asked to have their camera removed, and Funch has obliged.In fact, Funch says more often people want to be added to the site.
Webcam aggregation sites touch on the paradox of data availability — we choose to share much of our lives publicly but often feel uneasy at the thought of being watched.
Unlike sites that thrive on user-contributed content or taste-tailored recommendations, Opentopia operates on Web 1.0 principles: The site aggregates streaming webcams in a single place, presented without comment.
Trending cameras pop up on the homepage and recent keywords are listed on the search tab, but other than that, the site is open for unguided exploration. Opentopia’s algorithms automatically aggregate all its cameras from publicly available live video streaming feeds, although the webcam owners may not know their feeds are included.
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.