Bloomberg News apologized Monday for an "error" that allowed its journalists to access private client data through its financial terminals, saying it would "strive to continue to uphold the highest standards" in its reporting.
"Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary," Bloomberg editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler said in a statement posted on the news website.
"I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable. Last month, we immediately changed our policy so that reporters now have no greater access to information than our customers have."
The Wall Street Journal and USA Today reported meanwhile that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve had asked for information on whether Bloomberg reporters had accessed the accounts of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner.
Bloomberg announced Friday it was curbing reporter access to certain data on its financial terminals after reports claiming its journalists used the devices to spy on Wall Street banks.
A Bloomberg spokesman acknowledged that "limited customer relationship data has long been available to our journalists," without "security-level" data, trading data or messages.
Winkler said Monday that the access standards were "are almost as old as Bloomberg News," noting that "our reporters used to go to clients in the early days of the company and ask them what topics they wanted to see covered."
But the editor added that its journalists, "upon hiring, enter into a confidentiality agreement that strictly prohibits them from discussing non-public Bloomberg documents and proprietary information about the company and its clients in their reporting."
Following the recent revelations, Winkler said that "we should go above and beyond in protecting data, especially when we have even the appearance of impropriety."
"We apologize for our error as it does not reflect on our culture or our heritage," Winkler said.
"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."
The New York Post reported Friday that Goldman Sachs confronted Bloomberg over concerns that reporters at the news service had been using the financial information terminals to keep tabs on employees of the bank.
According to the report, Goldman found that Bloomberg staffers could determine which employees had logged into Bloomberg's proprietary terminals and how many times they had used particular functions.
A separate report by the Financial Times said JPMorgan Chase had also complained that Bloomberg reporters were spying on activities by bank employees.
The Bloomberg financial terminals, which are operated separately from the news service, allow banks and other financial professionals the ability to research virtually any type of financial asset and carry out trades.
A rival of Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg was founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is not involved in management due to his political activities.