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Bloomberg CEO admits 'mistake' in snooping scandal

May 13, 2013|By Shan Li
  • A Bloomberg data terminal.
A Bloomberg data terminal. (Pratt SLA via Flickr )

Bloomberg Chief Executive Daniel L. Doctoroff admitted that giving its journalists access to some subscriber information for its data terminals was "a mistake."

The company went into damage control mode last week shortly after it disclosed that reporters at Bloomberg News, the news section of the firm, had for years watched what customers were doing on its terminals.

The data available to its reporters included when clients logged on, how often they messaged and which broad categories they looked up. The terminals, which cost thousands of dollars a year, are a common sight at Wall Street firms.

The disclosure came after investment bank Goldman Sachs complained that a Bloomberg reporter had questioned a partner's employment status after noting the person had not logged on to his or her terminal for a while.

The revelation reverberated through Wall Street, where information on trades and deals is closely guarded to prevent any leak to competitors.

Doctoroff said Bloomberg has since changed its policy so that its reporters "only have access to the same customer relationship data available to our clients."

"Having recognized this mistake, we took immediate action," Doctoroff wrote in a post on the Bloomberg blog.

The company also created a new position called the client data compliance officer, who will be responsible for reviewing and possibly tweaking the rules to ensure that Bloomberg reporters "never have access to confidential customer data."

Some Wall Street firms are reportedly looking into possible leaks from its terminals. The New York Times also reported that regulators at the Federal Reserve were also checking to see if its workers were being watched by Bloomberg reporters.

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