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Reporters' login data access called 'mistake'

LOS ANGELES -- Financial data and news company Bloomberg LP says it has corrected a "mistake" in its newsgathering policies and cut off its journalists' special access to client login activity on the company's ubiquitous trading information terminals after Goldman Sachs complained about the matter last month.

A person familiar with the matter said Friday that Goldman Sachs became concerned after a Bloomberg reporter, investigating the possible departure of a Goldman employee, told the securities firm that the employee had not logged into a Bloomberg terminal for of weeks.

The Federal Reserve said Saturday that it was seeking information from Bloomberg about potential access by the reporters to client data on users of the terminals at the U.S. central bank.

In a memo sent to staff Friday, Bloomberg CEO Daniel Doctoroff said the company had "long made limited customer relationship data available to our journalists," but added, "we realize this was a mistake." After the complaint last month, Bloomberg "immediately" turned off its journalists' special access, he said.

Bloomberg News reporters had been able to see when any of the 315,000 paying subscribers, mostly stock and bond traders, had last logged into the service. They could also view the types of "functions" individual subscribers had accessed.

For instance, reporters could see if subscribers had been looking at top news stories, or if they had been gathering data on stocks or bonds, but not which stories or bonds and stocks they had looked up, said Ty Trippet, a Bloomberg LP spokesman.

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