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Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler has apologized after several high-profile clients complained about Bloomberg reporters having access to information through Bloomberg terminals.
Mr. Matthew said Monday that reporters working for the company’s news division should never have been allowed to access otherwise restricted client data, reports Bloomberg.
In an Op-Ed titled ” Holding Ourselves Accountable” published late Sunday, Bloomberg News editor weighed in on the current scandal brewing around the news service, following claims that reporters used Bloomberg terminals (ubiquitous in the financial sector) to spy on bankers.
The financial data and news agency CEO Daniel Doctoroff said in a statement on Friday that the firm restricted reporters’ access last month after a client complained.
Bloomberg’s computer terminals are widely used on Wall Street. The company had allowed journalists to see some information about terminal usage, including when customers had last logged in, and how often they used messaging, or looked up data on topics, such as equities and bonds.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) was the first to flag the matter to Bloomberg after a news service reporter in Hong Kong asked the bank about a partner’s employment status, noting the person had not logged on in some time. Goldman found that journalists had access to far more information than the bank had known, and argued the information was sensitive and should not be seen by reporters.
Following the Bloomberg story, both the Federal Reserve and the Treasury moved to investigate the issue further. The scandal escalated over the weekend when a former Bloomberg employee told CNBC that he had accessed information on the terminals of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. However, the former employee gave no specific details about the information gleaned from his surveillance.
Bloomberg’s Winkler attempted to provide confidence to terminal users. He assured them that at no time did reporters have access to trading, portfolio, monitor, or other related systems. Further, he assured customers that the reporters did not have access to clients’ private messages. Winkler reiterated the reporters couldn’t see the stories that clients were reading or the securities clients might be analyzing. Bloomberg has about 2,400 journalists worldwide.
Bloomberg’s CEO assured clients that the company has taken immediate action by creating a position of client data compliance officer to ensure its news operations never have access to confidential customer data.