South Korea’s now proposing laws to jail people who use the wrong sort of selfie sticks. Though it really does sound like something you’d hear from North Korea, the law really is from the (much) more liberal state. Its government will fine the companies selling uncertified camera extenders up to 30 million won (£17,191) and imprison them for up to three years.
Why? Well, it’s not because selfie sticks are a massive symbol of modern paranoia as their use implies we don’t trust anyone to take our bloody photo without stealing our phone. And it’s not just down to the fact selfie sticks are an even massiver symbol of just how far we’ve gone in our quest to be self-obsessed. It’s something much more technical than that. See, at the end of the selfie-stick, there’s a button that you click and it activates the phone via Bluetooth and tells your phone to take a photo. Right? Well, if your selfie stick is uncertified, it counts as ‘frequency-emitting communications equipment’ and so should be tested before the public get to use it.
Testing for what? Well, radio emissions that can damage people’s brains. Under the country’s Wireless Telegraphy Act, devices that give off electromagnetic waves need to be tested for use by the public and national security.
However, some people think this is actually because the Korean government wants to snoop on their selfie-taking citizens or cash in on the trend – which, actually, has been going on since the 1990s. One tech blogger wrote, reports Quartz: ‘So customers are subjects of control again?’
The lesson learned? Think your selfie-stick gives you sole control over your image and how you’re portrayed? Better think again.
Like this? You might also be interested in:
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.