We had a legal concern raised to us by our legal team which I wanted to bring up here to see if anyone in the community has found a workaround or is also struggling with this.
The concern is with the ability to Prefill a form when a Contact visits our web pages and tries to download or access some content. While this is convenient for the users, it also brings up a potential privacy issue for the Contacts. In a nutshell, there are certain data fields, that we maintain for those Contacts in Marketo, that could be exposed to someone else who is using the same email.
Here is the use case:
Even if the pre-filled values are hidden via the functionality in forms 2.0, the source code of the page still exposes this data, and thus poses a potential security threat for person "A".
Obviously form pre-fill is a very powerful feature for increasing conversion rates to content and down the funnel, so any ideas and/or workaround would be great so that we can leverage this key capability without any legal concerns.
So the only time this could happen is:
Additional questions you might ask are:
I can't tell you what the right decision is, so I suggest you think through this more with your lawyer.
Pierre, this is a very valid concern (as I work in a highly regulated industry, we have had to review it as well) but as Josh says, only your legal team can give you firm guidance in this area.
We are very conservative with the fields we send to the client. For example, we will not prefill a lead's annual income tier, even though we do keep that in our database. We accept the consequence that we have to "play dumb" about demographic info. C'est la vie! You can look at the legal pressure as a reason to encourage people to sign up for a full-fledged, password-protected account on your site. Then nobody can see or update private data without a password or existing session.
I've gotten this question a lot recently. Let me do my best to explain how this works:
-Form pre-fill by nature requires the unauthenticated transfer of lead data to the client in order to pre-fill various values on a form.
-It needs to be unauthenticated because leads do not "login" with secure credentials to visit one of your landing pages...they are simply known leads based on their cookie value. In Marketo, leads generally become known when they convert through an email or form, which has their email address (Marketo's unique identifier for leads). It is certainly possible for an attacker to enter fake email addresses on your forms to become known, then visit another landing page.
Note: we do have some form submission limits in place to avoid spam and brute force attacks.
-Once a lead becomes known to Marketo, their munchkin cookie value on their machine is linked to the known lead in the Marketo lead database.
-If a Marketo form has pre-fill enabled, when a known lead visits a Marketo-hosted page with that form, the values for the fields in the form are fetched from the Marketo lead db based on their cookie value.
The above is the way this workflow works and there is no alternative if you wish to have pre-fill on your forms. It's simply not possible technically unless you authenticate the lead somehow. Because of this, you may wish to disable pre-fill for certain form fields or disable it at the subscription-level entirely, which is fully supported in Marketo. Most customers don't wish to do this since things like First Name and Last Name are values that are generally accessible on the internet anyway (if you Google your email address, you'd be surprised what comes up). But, if you have a field that includes more private data, you should certainly disable pre-fill when placing that on a form. We don't recommend you store sensitive information (SS #, passwords, etc.) about leads in Marketo, as you really don't need things like that to execute effective marketing campaigns. Some customers may be more stringent, however, and wish to disable fields like phone number. We leave it up to our customers to determine how they wish to enable/disable pre-fill.
To control pre-fill, we provide the following options:
Also, remember pre-fill will never work on an embedded form. So the above only applies to forms hosted on Marketo landing pages.