Attorneys for five media organizations asked the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw its plan to restrict journalists’ early access to major economic reports, saying the ban on using computers would benefit high-frequency traders and violate First Amendment press protections, reports Steve Matthews of Bloomberg News.
Matthews reports, “The media organizations, also including the Associated Press, Dow Jones & Co., Market News and Reuters, wrote to Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner William Beach that banning computers would merely delay news organizations from filing their news stories. That would give an edge to sophisticated traders who could scrape government websites, find the relevant numbers in fractions of a second and execute trades before the data are shared with the public, according to the letter.
“‘Thus, the changes will have little, if any, effect on the perceived advantage to algorithmic traders,’ the letter said. ‘Instead, it will increase the advantage that algorithmic traders have by impeding Lockup attendees’ ability to disseminate their analyses of the data.’
“Beach had cited a 2014 report by the department’s inspector general saying several news organizations that participate are able to profit by providing the numbers to algorithmic traders in a format that provides them an advantage.”
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