Did Bloomberg spy on traders that used its subscription services?


Bloomberg LP is being accused of allowing its journalists to access information about how traders used its services, particularly those at Goldman Sachs.

The news that Bloomberg may have been providing subscriber data to its reporters came after Goldman Sachs, a major Bloomberg client, complained to the company, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Bloomberg responded by blocking its journalists from accessing the following data about customers: when a subscriber had most recently logged onto the service, when they became a subscriber and the content they were accessing, an unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal.

JP Morgan also made a complaint to Bloomberg, according to The Financial Times.

Another report in the New York Post said that, prior to the Goldman Sachs complaint, a reporter had approached a staff member at Goldman Sachs and asked if another executive had left the firm because he hadn’t logged into his account for some time. This raised concerns that the information accessed through the Bloomberg-owned terminals investors frequently use may not have been secure, reports the Post. “You can basically see how many times someone has looked up news stories or if they used their messaging functions,” a source from Goldman told The New York  Post. “It made us think, ‘Well, what else does [Bloomberg] have access to?”

Companies can rent out the Bloomberg-owned terminals for about $20,000 per year and the company has around 315,000 subscribers, says The Financial Times.

There is no indication that Bloomberg journalists used this information, though The Financial Times story raises the question of whether Bloomberg used customer data for a story about the so-called “London whale” trader, Bruno Iksil, who was responsible for $6.2 billion in losses at JP Morgan in 2012.