Is there information available about if not having an extensive digital footprint could be adverse?


I notice that most information on is about what kind of actions can take to prevent online exposure, to protect one’s online privacy, or to put it differently, to minimize one’s online footprint so to say.

However, I am interested to know, if there are any publications, articles or any other knowledge available how people with particular small – or uncommon - digital footprints might or are affected by not leaving extensive digital breadcrumbs behind. I am thinking in the realm of Facebook shadow profiles for example, but in this case that not having enough ‘online profile’ can, unknowingly, affect ones life (I think for example about loan or insurance applications).

To illustrate, I apply, I assume here common, hygeine habits; I am not active on mainstream social media, like FB, instagram, twitter or Tiktok. I don’t use whatsapp, I don’t use google products, I use nextcloud to host my calendar, use an AOSP os on phone, use Tor for most of my browsing, and I separate my professional and private online life (different phone numbers, variety of mail addresses), etc.

Once I have been denied to open a company account at a well known payment provider, and after calling their help desk, I simply received the blunt response ‘you have been flagged as risk’, without being able – or willing – to provide any further information. It made me wonder if my lack of online traces might have been the cause for this.

Is there information available about the case described above?

Thank you,


While I don’t have any studies or articles pointing to the fact that a minimized digital footprint can lead to difficulties like that, I’ll say this (which may, or may not be helpful to you):

It is always important for one to evaluate their needs. It is all too common for people who become interested in privacy to cut themselves off from everything and “digitally disappear”.

While this is not necessarily a bad thing (as minimizing your digital footprint makes it harder for someone to find information about you), it may not necessarily be needed or desirable for most people.

Taking privacy and security seriously doesn’t mean you have to disappear. You can continue using what you want to use, but you can do so in an informed and careful manner. It is all too common for people to overshare on the Internet, which ends up costing them down the line, in multiple ways.

There’s “not existing” online, but there’s always existing carefully. That is, double-thinking about what you post about yourself online and keeping in mind that everything that lands on the Internet is most likely going to be there forever, in some form.

In fact, I would say that for a lot of people, it is very beneficial to have some kind of presence online that’s tied to your real life identity. It may help you when you’re looking for a job, and it may also help you in your social or romantic life.

As with everything, balance is important!