“Anybody with a heart can watch that and feel good about it,” Funch says.Sachson says the cameras were so successful that now he has to time out the viewers — after four or five minutes of inactivity on the page, the feed stops streaming.Most of the time you’re not really snooping on anybody who doesn’t want to be looked at, but you don’t know,” Funch says.
The name itself, a portmanteau of “open” and “cornucopia,” implies the abundance of this kind of benign surveillance.
“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.
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.