Bloomberg in move to quell privacy concern

Michael Bow
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FINANCIAL data provider Bloomberg has banned its journalists from accessing customer data held on its trading terminals after financial institutions raised concerns it was being used by them to guide reporting.

The New York-based firm, which charges firms thousands of pounds a year to rent the sophisticated machines, disabled reporters’ access to customer relationship data after a complaint from Goldman Sachs about Bloomberg journalists accessing the information through the terminal.

Other institutions, including JP Morgan, the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury are also thought to have been in touch with Bloomberg over the issue.

No City firms in the UK have so far been in touch with Bloomberg. Regulatory authorities, including the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England, which use the terminals, are also not thought to be looking into the issue.

A source at a City bank last night said it was “thrilled” Goldman had taken Bloomberg to task over the issue.

“We weren’t happy but we never complained to management,” they said.

A source at another bank said: “The potential for someone to abuse that system is there but the devil is in the detail. The level of data could be so aggregated that it’s of no consequence.”

Journalists are understood to have had access to customer service transcripts, the last time someone logged in and what function commands they had used.

Bloomberg said: “Limited customer relationship data has long been available to our journalists, and has never included clients’ security-level data, position data, trading data or messages.”

In a letter to Bloomberg staff, chief executive Dan Doctoroff said it was wrong to give reporters access to the customer relationship information. “We realize this was a mistake,” he wrote. Bloomberg has around 2,000 journalists out of 15,000 staff.