You've probably already seen the apology from Bloomberg News
regarding the now-infamous "nanny-cam" scandal, in which its
reporters were caught trolling client data on the company's
terminals for story ideas. But we feel the company statement is
incomplete, so we'd like to fill in a few of the gaps for you.
Here, in part, is what Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Mathew
apologize for our error
as it does not reflect on our culture or our heritage. And we will
strive to continue to uphold the highest standards while adhering
to the best practices in the industry as long as we may be
fortunate to serve our customers as they would have us serve them."
This apology should have continued as follows:
Just kidding. Of course we've been spying on you. Everybody's
spying on everybody. That's the beauty of the Internet, baby. It
goes both ways.
Mind you, we stopped short of anything that could get anybody
thrown into jail. We don't pay our reporters enough to take that
No. We grabbed just enough data from our clients' sessions on
Bloomberg's proprietary terminals to help us put two and two
together, like good reporters are supposed to do.
After all, our client list is a
of global finance: Every hedge fund manager and investment banker,
plus all the policymakers like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke and former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The
opportunity was irresistible! And face it, these people were hardly
going to tell us straight out what they're up to.
But you want to know what really burns us up? Did you see who
broke this story
New York Post
. Yes, that would be the tabloid owned by
), aka Rupert Murdoch, also owner of the
Wall Street Journal
and our competitor,
Dow Jones News
You can still see the smoke from London over the revelations that
News Corp.'s British tabloids had been systematically spying on
citizens, elected officials, and even royalty. They tapped the cell
phone messages of a missing child. They listened in on an heir to
the throne. It went on and on.
Next to those guys, we're amateurs. So now they're jumping all over
New York Post
"While Bloomberg doesn't appear to have crossed a legal line, its
actions were widely viewed as a major breach of privacy." And
columnist Terry Keenan quotes
an unnamed hedge fund manager: "Imagine the amount of information
that could be gleaned by monitoring the searches and key strokes at
the mergers and acquisitions departments of the major Wall Street
firms. It makes me very queasy." Inevitably, another anonymous
trader calls it "Orwellian."
You want trouble over data privacy, take a look at what the
consumer-oriented websites are up against. Here are a few examples,
from just the last couple of days:
- PC Magazine
to check their
) privacy settings often, since they notoriously get "updated"
frequently. With the powerful new Graph Search function about to
be made widely available, Mashable and others are offering "pro
tips" for avoiding "Facebook creepers."
- In a new ad campaign,
touts its own sensitivity
to Internet privacy concerns. The latest version of Internet
Explorer asks users if they want to enable a "do-not-track"
option that reveals less information about their Web use to
potential advertisers. Users of
) Chrome need to initiate the change in default settings to get
that option. The
Kansas City Star
notes that Microsoft does not overtly say, this time, that Google
users are being "scroogled."
- Lobbyists and other representatives of the biggest Internet
companies, including Facebook, Google and
), are currently in Berlin to
express their concerns
over strict new privacy protections being considered for all of
Europe-over a half billion users. The regulations would ban a
wide range of now-standard practices used to target advertising
based on users' online activities, unless the user has given
explicit prior consent to the practices.
new piece of "malware"
aimed directly at Facebook users has been detected. If downloaded
to a computer that is logged into Facebook, the malware can
"like" a page, post, join a group, or chat with a user's friends
under the user's name.
Like I said, you think we got troubles? Here at Bloomberg LP, we
can only hope it all blows over. Anyway, what are they going to do,
unplug their Bloomberg terminals?
I don't think so.
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