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24x7 Jenni fades out

San Francisco, Dec. 10 (Reuters): One of the darlings of the Web and a pioneer of electronic exhibitionism — Jenni of JenniCam fame — is turning off the lights after seven years.

Jennifer Ringley, 27, became a quasi-celebrity when she installed video cameras in her room at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania in April 1996 and launched JenniCam.org.

Over the years the cameras have followed the redhead’s every movement 24 hours a day, from brushing her teeth in the nude and snuggling with her partner Dex to playing with her numerous cats and watching TV.

Now, her website has a notice saying it will be closing on December 31. While Ringley did not provide a reason on the site or respond to an e-mail query, it appears that her undressing may be her undoing. A spokeswoman at online payment company PayPal confirmed they were closing her account as the frontal nudity on her website violates the company’s acceptable use policy.

While MTV’s Real World was already a TV hit and on the Internet personal journals were popping up and porn companies were early adopters of Web cameras for live action, “Jenni,” as she was affectionately known to netizens, was one of the first to turn the camera on herself in an online social experiment.

Ringley, a self-described former computer geek who works at a non-profit social service agency in the Sacramento, California, says in her mission statement that she wanted to create a “window into a virtual human zoo.” “I keep JenniCam alive not because I want or need to be watched, but because I simply don’t mind being watched,” she wrote.

“What you’ll see is my life, exactly as it would be whether or not there were cameras watching. As a chronicle, a long-term experiment, the concept becomes clearer.”

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