My first dog was a big fluffy Akita, sweet but skittish, and smart enough to keep things interesting. She liked cookies, but didn't like being brushed, so when she saw the brush in my hand she'd spit out the cookie I'd given her.

I've never signed up for store "loyalty" cards. That means giving up the discounts and collecting the points in exchange for letting them track me for years, across different locations and diverse businesses. I know what the deal is, I know that nothing is free, and I reject the offer.

But my Akita's protest was an empty gesture. She'd still get brushed. Perhaps she never made the connection that her protest was futile; perhaps she knew and did it anyway out of principle. She'd still munch on the previously rejected cookie, right where she'd left it, after her coat was all smooth and shiny.

Now I need to look at how much data I'm putting out there that can be tracked and accumulated across electronic platforms. I provide it voluntarily through participating in social media, out of expedience by using Google products and big-data retailers, and through all manner of advertising networks. All of this needs to be reduced.

It's a work in progress. It may also be an empty gesture, or a rejection of something that I might benefit from that has no ill intent behind it. It's probably futile, but like my stubbornly  sensible dog, I'll still say that it's worth doing, if only out of principle.