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Whistleblower Channel at the Weizenbaum Institute


In the past, there have been various prominent national and international cases of whistleblowers who helped to uncover abuses and violations of the law at state institutions or in companies. These individuals assume responsibility for society in positions that are often difficult for them and therefore deserve to be protected from the disadvantages they may face because of their report. In Germany, the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) was passed for this purpose, which transposes the EU “Whistleblower Directive” (2019/1937) into national law.

In accordance with the HinSchG, the Weizenbaum Institute provides a digital reporting channel for whistleblowers. Potential whistleblowers can use this internal channel to report suspected misconduct or malpractice at the Weizenbaum Institute. They can choose between making an anonymous report or providing their name and contact details

What is a whistleblower channel?

A whistleblower channel is a communication channel through which employees and external parties can report legal violations by other persons or violations of internal guidelines at the Weizenbaum Institute confidentially, anonymously if desired, without having to fear any disadvantages because of this information. For the Weizenbaum Institute, the whistleblower channel offers a valuable source of information to counteract possible legal violations at an early stage and / or to be able to create clarity.

What can / should be reported?

In principle, any misconduct experienced or observed that constitutes or could constitute a criminal offence, administrative offence or a violation of an internal directive can and should be reported by employees or other persons working with the Weizenbaum Institute. The HinSchG mentions in particular:

  • criminal offences
  • certain administrative offences in the areas of environmental protection and occupational safety
  • European regulations, in particular data protection

If employees become aware of incidents that suggest a violation of good research practice, they are requested to contact the ombudspersons of the Weizenbaum Institute instead of reporting them via the whistleblower channel.

What happens with my report?

The receipt of a report and the initial communication with the person making the report is carried out by an external compliance advisory firm, which performs the tasks of the internal reporting office in accordance with the provisions of the HinSchG. The Weizenbaum Institute has appointed equeo CompCor GmbH for this purpose in order to provide an independent body to process incoming reports that also has the necessary expertise.

The whistleblower receives a confirmation of receipt upon submitting the initial report. Employees of equeo CompCor undertake the initial verification of a report or enquiry to clarify the facts and coordinate the further procedure with the responsible persons at the Weizenbaum Institute.

After three months at the latest, the whistleblower will be informed of the measures taken, insofar as this is legally possible.

How does the law protect whistleblowers?

The person providing the information and those persons who support them in this context are protected in accordance with the provisions of the HinSchG,

  • provided that the whistleblower had reasonable grounds to believe at the time of the report or disclosure that the information reported or disclosed by the whistleblower was true, and
  • the information relates to violations that fall within the scope of par. 2 HinSchG (Annex 2), or the whistleblower had reasonable grounds to believe that this was the case at the time of reporting or disclosure.

A whistleblower is not protected if he / she intentionally or grossly negligently reports incorrect information about offences. In such a case, the whistleblower is obliged to compensate for the damage resulting from the wilful or grossly negligent reporting or disclosure of incorrect information in accordance with par. 38 HinSchG.

How is my identity protected?

Protection through the whistleblower system

The whistleblower has the option of remaining anonymous or revealing their identity when reporting suspected misconduct or malpractice. The exchange of information and data via the whistleblowing system takes place in encrypted form. No contact details of the whistleblower are stored unless the person has expressly consented to this.

It is not possible for the system provider or other third parties to view the content.

Protection by equeo CompCor

The duty of confidentiality of equeo CompCor employees extends in particular to the identity of the whistleblower. The names and contact details of whistleblowers will only be disclosed to the contact persons at the Weizenbaum Institute in accordance with the confidentiality regulations of the HinSchG. These facts must be recorded in the internal processing log.

The Weizenbaum Institute does not have access to equeo CompCor’s internal processing notes on information received.

If, in equeo CompCor’s opinion, the anonymity of the whistleblower cannot be guaranteed when passing on the complete information, the information will only be passed on in part, unless there is express consent from the whistleblower or an exception under the HinSchG. The assessment of whether the protection of the confidentiality of a whistleblower is jeopardised is the sole responsibility of equeo CompCor.

Any further questions?

If you have any further questions about the whistleblower channel, please contact equeo CompCor (office[at]

Privacy notice regarding the Weizenbaum Institute's whistleblower channel (available in German)