The Do Not Track discussions that are currently going on are fascinating because they highlight the huge gap between how the internet actually works and how people are talking about policy. Politicians are giving consumers a false sense that there is an easy “on/off” switch for tracking. And industry groups aren’t helping the debate by making it easy to argue that they are using self policing as a fig leave. All of this completely drowns out the difficulty of the underlying problem: our online activities leave a huge data footprint because of the many different connected systems that data passes through. To really not be trackable, consumers would have to start using a network such as Tor which is clearly not a mass market behavior. Anything else implies some level of trackability. So the question really is more one of who does tracking and to what ends. For industry this means more transparency and more consumer friendly tools for understanding and changing their browser behavior. It may be time to revisit prior efforts along those lines such as P3P.