Bloomberg admits to snooping scandal

Reporters had access to customer information on company’s data terminals

Bloomberg is at the center of a new data-snooping scandal.

Rumors began swirling last week that Bloomberg’s reporters have long accessed client data—including contact information and login activity—through the company’s financial data terminals. More than 315,000 subscribers, including traders, regulators and bankers, rent the terminals for $20,000 a year. Last month, Goldman Sachs complained to Bloomberg that its reporters were violating customer privacy.

In an op-ed piece on Sunday, Bloomberg News Editor-In-Chief Matthew Winkler admitted to and apologized for the reporters’ data snooping, which competitors said gave Bloomberg an unfair advantage. Winkler wrote that the company’s “reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable.”

According to the New York Times, more than half a dozen former Bloomberg employees admitted that Bloomberg’s 2,400 journalists were trained to use the terminals to get inside information. One former Bloomberg journalist told the Times that “there was always a discussion in the newsroom of how to use the terminals to break news.”

Bloomberg said the function that allowed its reporters to access subscriber information have been disabled. The company also has appointed a senior executive to fill a new position, client data compliance officer.

Read the Huffington Post for more about the Bloomberg snooping scandal.

For more InsideCounsel articles about data privacy, read:

FTC warns data brokers of possible privacy violations

GCs predict increase in consumer fraud and privacy class actions

Google owns up to privacy violations in Street View settlement

Hiring law firm in wake of data breach gives companies the secrecy of privilege

Social networking app settles over privacy violations

New FTC recommendations target mobile privacy concerns

Technology: Is there any real incentive for safeguarding data in the information age?

Prepare for the coming of the privacy police

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