After Bloomberg disclosed that its journalists used its proprietary financial data terminals to monitor clients and score scoops, the company apologized and the Federal Reserve and Treasury threatened inquiries, The New York Times reported.
"The error is inexcusable," editor in chief Matthew Winkler said in an editorial this morning.
Until April, reporters had access to data for more than 315,000 terminal clients, including Wall Street traders, regulators and central bankers. Reporters could see whether a client had logged into a Bloomberg terminal and whether the person was using message or chat functions or looking up news stories, though they could not see the content of any of these functions.
Bloomberg chief executive Daniel Doctoroff told the Associated Press that reporters never had access to "trader, portfolio, monitor, blotter or other related systems or our clients' messages."
Reporters used their special access primarily to get contact information for subscribers.
Bloomberg eliminated terminal data access for the news division in April, following a complaint from Goldman Sachs, a company that pays Bloomberg millions of dollars a year to rent the financial terminals. Goldman voiced concern after reporters investigated the possible dismissal of a Goldman employee after the person had not logged into a Bloomberg terminal for weeks.
J.P. Morgan voiced concern that Bloomberg was using private information to monitor Bruno Iksil, "The London Whale," who was responsible for a $6 billion trading loss last year.
The Federal Reserve and the Treasury are looking into whether chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner were monitored, according to The Washington Post.