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South Korea delivers a huge blow to selfie photographers

Published Nov 28th, 2014 8:30PM EST

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Selfie fans who have significantly upped their selfie-taking game by using complex selfie sticks to take better pictures of themselves with or without friends should know the South Korean government has its sights on them… well, not so much on them as on the retailers currently selling these devices in the region. AFP reports that unregulated selfie sticks will be illegal in South Korea, as the country is ready to ban smartphone photo-taking accessories.

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Even though this decision sounds more like a bad joke, South Korea is taking selfie sticks very seriously, imposing punishments as hard as up to three years in prison or a $27,000 fine for anyone found selling a selfie stick that’s not registered.

Apparently, the selfie sticks are identified as communication equipment in the country, as they use Bluetooth technology, which means they have to be properly certified before being available to buyers.

“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,” a Science Ministry’s Central Radio Management Office official told AFP.

“The announcement last Friday was really just to let people know that they need to be careful about what they sell,” the official added. “We’ve had a lot of calls from vendors who think they might have been unknowingly selling uncertified products,” he added.

A basic selfie stick sells for just $5 in the region, while a Bluetooth-enabled one costs at least $25, and it looks like some retailers already had to dump some stock following this decision.

“I know some of the bigger sellers had to get rid of some of their stock which hadn’t been registered,” a selfie stick seller whose merchandise is certified told the publication.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.