Bloomberg Posted Customers’ Private Messages Online (and eschatology, cloning)

Y’all have no doubt heard about Bloomberg getting taken to task for spying on customers that use its $20,000 per terminal per year news service, and using that data to report on scandals surrounding said customers.

Providing another reason why you should always trust companies and organizations (they always mean the best for you, the consumer), it turns out Bloomberg also accidentally posted 10,000 private messages between traders — from their “ultra secure” inter-terminal private messaging system — on the public Internet.

Oddly enough Bloomberg is something of a panopticon company: famous for obsessively monitoring everything all of its employees do and using that data for any purpose.

To the point that Bloomberg employees spend their free time watching when NYC “privacy is off the table” mayor Mike Bloomberg gets home to his mansion… and when they want to complain about the awful conditions the paranoia creates, writing their leaks in longhand on pen and paper! (

Only, of course, for Gawker to publish the original images so the Bloomberg guys can pull out handwriting analysis. (Gawker is a company too, after all.)

Dolly-style cloning comes to people, but the success rate is lower than with monkeys:

Eschatology, compendium of stuff I’ve been meaning to send out: Japan is printing money at an absurd pace [1] and it actually seems to be working. It turns out this isn’t the first time people have intentionally devalued money with good results: in the 1930s a tiny Austrian town called Woergl solved their depressionary problems by creating a new currency that worked “on top of” the existing one, and which automatically lost value if you didn’t spend it[2].

I wonder if the Italians or the Greeks will end up creating their own local currencies on top of the Euro. The Euro is good because/as long as it’s not under the control of any one interest, but a secondary local currency seems to obviate many of the disadvantages inherent in giving up the ability to use monetary policy to clear economic logjams.

Footnote: Austria during the interwar period was crazy — think Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Stalin, and Freud living in the same city at once [3] and hanging out in coffeeshops. Sadly it seems one of the country’s better ideas (bank secrecy) is falling by the wayside[4] in the name of tax collection… taxes are important yes, but they can be collected without compromising privacy, which is critical.

[1] [2] [3]

“Bloomberg says it accidentally posted on the internet more than 10,000 private messages that traders sent each other on their Bloomberg terminals. The new revelation, reported by the Financial Times, will undoubtedly escalate the furor over Bloomberg’s handling of data that its customers consider to be confidential.

The messages were related to a Bloomberg service that helps clients keep track of prices for fixed-income securities that are often traded among a small number of investors over the messaging system on their Bloomberg terminals. Customers allow Bloomberg to scan those messages for data about trades, so a market price can be established.

According to Bloomberg’s account, the messages that ended up online (and have since been removed) were voluntarily forwarded to Bloomberg by a customer “so that we could conduct internal testing to improve our technology for the client.” A Bloomberg employee uploaded the messages to what he thought was a private website. In fact, it could be accessed by anyone.”

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