Bloomberg to increase oversight after privacy concerns surface

  • Article by: NATHANIEL POPPER
  • New York Times
  • August 21, 2013 - 10:56 PM

– Bloomberg LP said Wednesday that it is making several changes to its journalism operation after an investigation commissioned by the company detailed problems with the use of ­client data.

Bloomberg released the results of the investigation Wednesday, a few months after several banks and government officials expressed concern that the company’s journalists could see private information about the way bank and government employees were using their Bloomberg data terminals.

Two separate but related reports found that the company’s journalists had access to information about clients through a number of channels that those clients did not know about. The reviews found that some journalists were given access to an anonymous chat room for commodities traders, and, in other cases, were made privy to discussions about how much revenue the company was earning from specific clients.

But the primary complaint voiced by banks earlier this year was that Bloomberg journalists could see when bank employees had last used their Bloomberg terminals and the basic functions they were using.

The investigators found that when the issue was first brought to the company’s attention in 2011, top executives decided to stop giving journalists access to the data, but that no concrete steps were taken to do so because of “misunderstandings about who was responsible for doing so.”

More recently, the report said, there was an “understanding that journalists should not reveal to terminal users that journalists had access” to the private data.

The main report, conducted by lawyers and a consulting firm, said that since the issues came to light in April, Bloomberg had taken steps to fix all the problems.

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