In April 1996, during her junior year at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Internet personality and lifecaster Jennifer Ringley began the popular website, JenniCam. She was the first real full time online webcam girl; she continued the webcam until 2003.
"Previously, live webcams transmitted static shots from cameras aimed through windows or at coffee pots. Ringley's innovation was simply to allow others to view her daily activities.
"In June 2008, CNET hailed JenniCam as one of the greatest defunct websites in history.
"Regarded by some as a conceptual artist, Ringley viewed her site as a straight-forward document of her life. She did not wish to filter the events that were shown on her camera, so sometimes she was shown nude or engaging in sexual behavior, including sexual intercourse and masturbation. This was a new use of Internet technology in 1996 and viewers were stimulated both for its sociological implications and for sexual arousal. Surveillance became conceptual art, as noted by Mark Tribe in 'New Media Art':
In Web sites like JenniCAM, in which a young woman installed Web cameras in her home to expose her everyday actions to online viewers. . . surveillance became a source of voyeuristic and exhibitionistic excitement. . . Institutional surveillance and the invasion of privacy have been widely explored by New Media artists.'
"Ringley's genuine desires to maintain the purity of the cam-eye view of her life eventually created the need to establish that she was within her rights as an adult to broadcast such information, in the legal sense, and that it was not harmful to other adults. Unlike later for-profit webcam services, Ringley did not spend her day displaying her private parts, and she spent much more time discussing her romantic life than she did her sex life. Ringley maintained her webcam site for seven years" (Wikipedia article on Jennifer Ringley, accessed 05-08-2009).