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'Several hundred' Bloomberg reporters were watching Wall Street sources through terminals

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QWERTY keyboard Mac stock (1020)
QWERTY keyboard Mac stock (1020)

Yesterday, wire and news company Bloomberg admitted that its reporters had been clandestinely using the company's data terminals to gather news. Now, The New York Times has revealed the full scope of the tracking: of the news branch's roughly 2,400 reporters, "several hundred" had used it, according to a preliminary internal investigation. Sources told the Times that reporters were first given access to terminal information in the 1990s, when they would sit in on sales calls to discuss the company's then-nascent news wing as a benefit of buying terminal access. They were able to view lists of account holders at a given company, and to track metadata like when the account holder had last logged in and how often they used various functions of the terminal.

While this didn't let reporters see trades or other specific information, it gave them an overview of various bank employees. In one case from last year, JPMorgan Chase apparently found that journalists had been using the terminals when they were asked whether several employees had been fired, based on their failure to log into their accounts. But the issue only went public after the New York Post reported that Goldman Sachs had confronted Bloomberg over terminal spying.

Bloomberg confirmed to the Post that it had disabled access to these terminal functions for reporters. All the same, it's apparently working to rebuild trust with banks. The Times reports that Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler called Goldman Sachs to apologize. Bloomberg's $20,000 terminals are a fixture in the banking industry, but this incident could erode trust in their confidentiality.