The New York Times reports on a privacy issue connected with Bloomberg News:
Reporters at Bloomberg News were trained to use a function on the company’s financial data terminals that allowed them to view subscribers’ contact information and, in some cases, monitor login activity in order to advance news coverage, more than half a dozen former employees said.
More than 315,000 Bloomberg subscribers worldwide use the terminals for instant market news, trading information and communication. Reporters at Bloomberg News, a separate division from the terminal business, were nonetheless told to use the terminals to get an edge in the competitive world of financial journalism where every second counts, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the company’s strict nondisclosure agreements. […]
Matthew Winkler, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, underscored that the practice was at one time commonplace. In an editorial published on Bloomberg View late Sunday night, he said the practice of allowing reporters access to limited subscriber information dated back to the inception of the news arm of the giant financial information company founded by Michael R. Bloomberg.
“The recent complaints relate to practices that are almost as old as Bloomberg News,” Mr. Winkler said. “Some reporters have used the so-called terminal to obtain, as The Washington Post reported, ‘mundane’ facts such as logon information.” […]
The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department are also investigating whether reporters tracked employees. Bloomberg terminals sit in the highest echelons of power — including central banks, rival news organizations, Congress and even the Vatican. […]
Bloomberg executives have not denied that they knew some reporters turned to the terminals to monitor when subscribers, who are mostly traders and finance executives, had logged on. On less frequent occasions, reporters also monitored chats between those subscribers and customer service representatives. Reporters could not see a subscriber’s specific securities, trades or which news articles they had read.