Selfie sticks could bring jail time in South Korea

That selfie stick in your hand. A harmless memory-maker? Or a potentially chaos-inducing electromagnetic radiation emitter?

South Korea’s government said it would start checks on sellers of selfie sticks on Friday, with retailers selling uncertified products facing a maximum fine of 30 million won (US$27,000) or even prison time of as long as three years.

Selfie stick is a small, articulated monopod
designed for cell phone-wielding photographers.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced last week it had stepped up its search for unauthorised bluetooth equipped selfie sticks, claiming that the devices caused other electronics to malfunction, according to The Korean Times.

The focus of the ministerial crackdown are those models that come with bluetooth technology, allowing the user to release the smartphone shutter remotely, rather than using a timer.

Selfie stick and a bluetooth shutter
Ministry officials admit the crackdown is basically motivated by a technicality, given that the weak, short-range signals emitted by bluetooth devices are hardly likely to bring down a plane or interfere with police frequencies.

"It's not going to affect anything in any meaningful way, but it is nonetheless a telecommunication device subject to regulation, and that means we are obligated to crack down on uncertified ones," an official at the ministry's Central Radio Management Office told AFP.

"The announcement last Friday was really just to let people know that they need to be careful about what they sell," said the official, who declined to be identified. -

Selfie stick vendors in Seoul appeared to be taking the ministry's order in their stride.

This resulted in the ministry issuing a plea last week which asked citizens to help "root out the distribution of illegal communication devices such as uncertified camera-extender rods" by reporting such cases.

The selfie trend first took off several years ago with the widespread adoption of smartphones, and this year has seen selfie sticks become increasingly popular.

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Selfie sticks could bring jail time in South Korea Selfie sticks could bring jail time in South Korea Reviewed by TrendSpot on Thursday, November 27, 2014 Rating: 5

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