South Korea: $27k fine, 3 yrs in jail for unregistered ‘selfie-sticks’

image

Selfie-taking South
Koreans have one-
upped the rest of the
world with the rapid
popularity of “selfie-
sticks,” or low-tech
solutions to improving
self-portraits taken with
our high-tech phones
while in public. But
now the country is
getting ready to crack
down on the tools, even
making them illegal. For
becoming public
nuisances? For being
used as weapons? No,
it’s simply because
they’re unregistered
Bluetooth devices.

There are two kinds of
selfie-sticks; basic
models, which cost
around $5, have no real
technology in them and
simply hold your
smartphone at a
distance after you’ve
set the timer setting on
the camera app. The
other kind offer
Bluetooth connectivity,
are priced around $25,
and allow it to be
paired with the phone
so that users can
trigger the camera
shutter via a button on
the stick’s handle. It’s
the later that South
Korea’s Science Ministry
is addressing in its new
ruling, and in truth only
applies to retailers
selling the sticks.

Because of the
Bluetooth feature, the
country labels the
advanced selfie-sticks as
pieces of
communication
equipment, and
therefore must be
certified before getting
sold to the public that
they don’t cause
interference. Those
caught selling
unregistered sticks can
face a maximum of
three years in prison, or
a fine of $27,000.
In a report from the
AFP , even the South
Korean authorities
admit that this new
regulation is based on
technicalities, as it’s
easy to recognize that
any wireless signals
emitted by selfie-sticks
wouldn’t interfere with
airplanes overhead or
emergency frequencies.
“It’s not going to affect
anything in any
meaningful way, but it
is nonetheless a
telecommunication
device subject to
regulation,” said a
ministry official. The
announcement of the
regulation was said to
mainly serve as a
warning to retailers,
with several bigger
stores already getting
rid of some stock in
response.

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