Last month, South Korea’s Science Ministry announced a crackdown on the sale of unregistered Bluetooth-enabled selfie sticks in the country. Sellers found guilty could face a fine of RM90,288 (US$27,000) or up three years in prison. Selfie sticks, for the uninitiated, are monopods that you attach your camera onto.
The government there is not against this mode of self-expression, but worried that such devices when used in the open could disrupt other communication devices on the same radio frequency.
The officials, however, have conceded that these low-powered devices with a short operable range do not pose any real threat to other devices. Miffed users point out that no such regulations exist in Hong Kong, where these devices are equally as popular.
Those in favor of the crackdown have mentioned that the interference of signals from such devices is the reason mobiles are supposed to be switched off in hospitals, as well as planes that are taking off or landing. Given the South’s relation with its northern neighbor, security could doubtless be a consideration.
Testing and regulating the sale of this very popular piece of equipment may not be easy for the Koreans. It would, instead, be easier for them to change the definition of a “communication device” and get these sticks out of the purview of regulations.