There are so many places and occasions where it is either unsafe, rude, or otherwise inappropriate to use a cell phone.

Surely, you’d think it would be relatively simple to block cell phone signals in places where people shouldn’t be using them. I would certainly like a restaurant where they guaranteed that I wouldn’t hear the irritating details of a fellow diner’s love life! I’d love to know that the quiet car on a train really was a quiet car without those awful people mumbling into their iPhones in the belief that nobody can hear them. Think of the concert hall where you know that Beethoven’s Violin Concerto won’t be spoiled by the ring of a cell phone. There is, of course, the more serious issue that texting while driving is now the leading cause of teenage deaths according to a study by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

The good news is that you’d be right. Jamming technology is cheap, reliable, and simple. The problem is that it’s illegal. Under FCC rules, taking away someone’s right to make use of the public air waves is equivalent to property theft.

A Florida man recently took the law into his own hands. He equipped his SUV with a device to block other drivers from using their cell phones. The FCC slapped him with a $48,000 fine.

Nice idea! But we can’t do it.