Being one of the engineers that worked on the initial development of this technology, it's amusing to read some of the comments from people who have little knowledge of what has already been implemented. The standard for airbag crash sensing systems is 0.99995 with 95% reliability - and you can imagine the amount of testing that is required to achieve that standard. In the early days of electronic crash sensing, when the technology was evolving from electromechanical sensing, engineers needed field data to validate the crash sensing algorithms, and to datamine relevant data for further algorithm development. The technology was developed to record only deployment events and near-deployment events, and to lock the data securely after a deployment event. The data was passively collected from barrier tests, taxi cab, police car, and rental car fleets and was used to validate the system before it ever got approval for use in passenger vehicles. Our families ride in the vehicles with the systems we design.
I guess in your line of engineering, design validation and continuous improvement by collection of field data is to be considered "crap"? Remind me what products you develop so I can avoid them.
That being said, once the technology is developed, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and bean counters and polticians abusing it can only be prevented by informed and active citizens. The government has no business using this data to incriminate individuals a priori, and should only be made available as subject to a warrant as provided in our 4th Amendment protections, until that goes away along the lines that the 9th, 10th, and 2nd Amendments are being assaulted today.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.