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Bloomberg News editor-in-chief calls terminal spying 'inexcusable,' Fed may investigate

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FLICKR Bloomberg Terminal
FLICKR Bloomberg Terminal

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler has published a public apology for the news agency's policy that gave some reporters access to Bloomberg terminal users' private data, saying "the error is inexcusable." He added that "our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary," and he said the company disabled access last month after receiving a complaint from Goldman Sachs "so that reporters now have no greater access to information than our customers have."

The revelation last week that some Bloomberg News reporters could track customers' login history and see which terminal functions they were using — like reading news or sending instant messages — has earned the attention of the Federal Reserve. According to the Associated Press, the Fed is looking to see if "journalists tracked data about terminal usage by top Fed officials," and a spokesperson told Fox Business that "we are looking into this situation and have been in touch with Bloomberg to learn more."

Matthew Winkler's apology today clarified what had been earlier reported: employees never had access to specific activities. "At no time did reporters have access to trading, portfolio, monitor, blotter or other related systems. Nor did they have access to clients’ messages to one another. They couldn’t see the stories that clients were reading or the securities clients might be looking at." He also confirmed that reporter access to terminal information such as login history dates as far back as the 1990s, when the data was used to help understand what customers wanted from the news service. The New York Times reported this weekend that "several hundred" of Bloomberg's roughly 2,400 reporters had access.