The South Korean government is going after sellers of uncertified camera extenders, threatening fines of up to 30 million won ($27,000) or prison time of as long as three years. According to Korea’s Ministry of Science, “selfie sticks” that have bluetooth functionality should be classified as frequency-emitting communications equipment and go through rounds of testing before being approved for commercial sale.On Thursday, the government asked citizens to help “root out” the distribution of these unapproved bluetooth-equipped selfie sticks by reporting on such sales. On Friday, authorities said they would begin doing checks on retailers.
This week’s selfie stick announcements raised similar fears. “So customers are subjects of control again?” one blogger wrote (link in Korean) on the South Korean blogging forum, Naver. Bloggers also criticized what they saw as a hit against small retailers selling selfie sticks. One wrote, “Are the big corporations now going to sell selfie sticks? …This money-crazed government.” Another, referring to president Park Geun-Hye’s push for building a “creative economy” based on innovation and entrepreneurship, speculated that the government is seeking new ways to extract fees from retailers, “Creative economy? More like creative taxes.”