Bloomberg Brings In Ex-IBM CEO Palmisano For Privacy Help

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

After a bad week for privacy at Bloomberg, the company brings in IBM’s former leader

Following the emergence of two serious privacy issues at Bloomberg this week, the company has brought in an IT big gun in the form of ex-IBM CEO  Sam Palmisano to help ensure it doesn’t upset any more customers concerned about data protection.

Sam Palmisano IBM

The company admitted it was wrong to let journalists access client information from financial data terminals, saying it was “inexcusable”, even though it had been going on for years. The activities of Bloomberg journalists were only brought to light after investment bank Goldman Sachs complained.

Later in the week, Bloomberg was found to have let over 10,000 private messages leak online.

Bloomberg needs privacy help

The firm promised to employ a client data compliance officer, but has now given Palmisano, who was IBM CEO until January 2012 when he announced plans to retire,  the role of independent adviser covering privacy and data standards.

“When a client brought these matters to our attention, we apologised for our mistake and took immediate action,” said Daniel Doctoroff, Bloomberg CEO and president

“We want, however, to go even further and get the benefit of independent leading experts so that we set the new standard for privacy and data security. This review will be completed expeditiously, thoughtfully and thoroughly.”

Palmisano will immediately set to work on a review of Bloomberg’s practices, looking into journalists’ access to systems.

“Sam Palmisano is an expert at understanding issues related to technology and data use, having led the transition at IBM from computers to helping customers use technology to solve business challenges,” added Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg.

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