Privacy Policy

The responsible party in terms of data protection law is:

German Ethics Council
Represented by the head of the office:
Dr. rer. nat. Joachim Vetter

Headquarters: Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Jaegerstr. 22/23
D-10117 Berlin
Phone: +49/30/203 70-242
Fax: +49/30/203 70-252
Email: vetter(at)ethikrat(dot)org

The protection of your personal data is very important to us.

The use of our website is generally possible without providing personal data. As far as personal data (e.g. your name or email address) is collected on our website, this is solely done for the explained purpose and on a voluntary basis. This data will not be passed on to third parties, unless it is absolutely necessary for the explained purpose. In this case, we will obtain your prior consent to the disclosure.


Our website uses cookies. Cookies do not damage your computer and do not contain viruses. Cookies serve to make our website more user-friendly, effective and safer. Cookies are small text files that are stored on your computer and saved by your browser.

Some of the cookies used are so-called “session cookies”. They are automatically deleted after closing your browser. Other cookies remain stored on your device until you delete them. These cookies enable us to recognize your browser the next time you visit our website.

You can configure your browser in order to inform you about the setting of cookies, to allow cookies only in particular cases, to exclude the acceptance of cookies in certain cases or in general, or to activate the automatic deletion of cookies when closing the browser. If cookies are completely deactivated, the functionality of our website may be limited.

Cookie consent

When you visit our website, we ask for your consent to receive cookies (and to establish connections with external services, see below). If you agree, your consent is stored as a cookie in the browser used on your device (in accordance with Art. 6 (1) lit. a DSGVO):

Name of the cookie Stored data and purpose Storage period


Memorising the consent, so that you do not have to answer the question again 1 year

Basket function

If you use the basket function in the publications section, a cookie will ensure that you can order several publications at once. We assume that enabling you to use this function justifies the short-term processing of your data using cookies (in accordance with Art. 6 (1) lit. e DSGVO).

Name of the cookie Stored data and purpose Storage period
fe-typo-user Saving the content of the basket the corresponding session

Usage analysis

Collecting general information (log files)

For technical reasons, every time a user accesses the German Ethics Council website, and every time a file is retrieved, data generated by these actions is temporarily stored and processed in a log file:

  • the type and version of your browser
  • the type of the operating system
  • the (full) IP address
  • the date and time of access
  • the page accessed/name of the retrieved file
  • the referrer URL (the page from which you accessed our website via a link)
  • the HTTP status code (for example in case of an error).

These data are not assignable to specific persons. The data will neither be passed on to third parties nor merged with other data. We reserve the right to check this data subsequently if we become aware of concrete indications of illegal use. For this purpose, we retain the data for 180 days and delete it afterwards. We assume that our interest in maintaining the functioning justifies the storage of the IP address, which cannot be easily personalised (in accordance with Art. 6 (1) lit. f DSGVO). For this reason, and since we are unable to assign the data to persons, the right to deletion, correction etc. cannot be exercised.


This website uses Matomo (formerly “Piwik”), an open-source software for the statistical analysis of visitor access.  Matomo is operated on one of our servers. Matomo generates the following cookies:

Name of the cookie Stored data and purpose Storage period
Assigns an ID to the browser in order to identify a recurring visit
29 days
_pk_ses.3.978a Assigns an ID to the session in order to record the click path the corresponding session

If you agree to the use of cookies (see above), the data generated by the cookie concerning your use of our website is combined with the data of other users and stored on our server. These statistics help us to improve the usability of the website and the usefulness of the content. We keep these statistics for several years. In order to protect your identity, only the first half of your IP address will be stored.

If you do not agree with the storage and use of your data, you can deactivate the storage and use here. In this case, an Opt-Out Cookie is deposited in your browser which prevents Matomo from saving usage data. If you delete your cookies, the Matomo Opt-Out Cookie will be deleted as well. Therefore, the opt-out procedure must be followed again when you visit our website the next time.

Reading service

We use an external service for the read aloud function:
ReadSpeaker, Dolderseweg 2A, 3712 BP Huis ter Heide, Netherlands
Privacy Policy:

When you click on the “Listen” button, the text or text passage of the website and your IP address are transferred to a server of the company ReadSpeaker, where an audio file is generated and sent back to your IP address in a streaming process. Immediately after delivery of the audio file, the process and the user’s IP address are deleted from the ReadSpeaker server. ReadSpeaker does not store any personal data. All services are realized in Europe (Sweden and Ireland).
By using the ReadSpeaker function, the following technical cookies are stored on the device to save the settings chosen by the user (highlighting, text size, etc.). They are deleted after the session or, depending on the function, after an appropriate period of time (maximum 30 days).
We assume that our interest in offering this function justifies the disclosure of your IP address and the use of a cookie (in accordance with Art. 6 (1) lit. f DSGVO).

Name of the cookie Stored data and purpose Storage period


Storage of settings 30 days max.

If the ReadSpeaker function is not activated, no cookies are stored on your device when you visit the website.


Social networking services

Linked services

Our website contains links that activate functions of individual social media networking services (hereinafter simply referred to as “services”). When you click on one of these links, a direct connection is established between your browser and the service, even without you leaving our site. The service is thereby informed that you have visited our site using your IP address. The linked services are:

Facebook Ireland Limited, 4 Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
Links on our website that connect you to Facebook are identified by the Facebook logo (“f”).
Facebook privacy policy:

Twitter International Company, One Cumberland Place, Fenian Street, Dublin 2, D02 AX07, Ireland
Links on our website that connect you to Twitter are identified by the Twitter logo (“a little bird”).
Twitter privacy policy:

Vimeo Inc., 555 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011, USA
Links on our website that connect you to Vimeo are identified by the Vimeo logo (“v”).
Vimeo privacy policy:

Voice Republic Media AG, Langstraße 10, 8004 Zürich, Switzerland
Links on our website that connect you to Voice Republic are identified by the Voice Republic logo (“VR” in a triangle).
Voice Republic privacy policy:

If you click such a link while logged in to the relevant service, your visit to our pages may be associated with your user account at the respective service. You can prevent this by logging out of the relevant account before clicking the link.


Data entered into forms

Contact form

If you use the contact form to submit an inquiry, the provided data is stored for the purpose of processing your request and in case of any follow-up questions. This data will not be passed on to third parties and will be deleted as soon as we have processed your inquiry.

Subscribing to our mailing list

When you register for the use of our mailing list services (invitations to events, notices of current publications such as Opinions, Ad hoc Recommendations, the newsletter (“Infobrief”) or press releases), we will collect the following required data: name, first name and email address. Providing other personal data when registering is voluntary. This data is entered into a separate database. The provided data is solely stored for the purpose of sending you the inquired information. Data is stored until the revocation/cancellation of your subscription. Your data will be neither passed on to third parties nor merged with other data. The dispatch is done via our servers.

If you are registered with us, you can access content and services that we offer only to registered users. Registered users also have the option of changing or deleting the data provided during registration at any time.

Of course, we will also provide you at any time with information regarding the personal data we hold about you. We are happy to rectify or delete this data at your request, to the extent allowed by statutory storage requirements. To contact us in this regard, please use the contact details given at the beginning of this data protection policy.

Registering for events

When registering for an event, the information you provide (name, first name, and email address) will be used solely for this purpose. We require this data in order to limit the number of participants at an event according to the facilities at hand. We also use your email address to contact you after an event and request your voluntary feedback. Your data will be deleted, at the latest, four weeks after an event. If you ask us before the beginning of an event to delete your stored data, you will no longer be able to participate in the event.


Data security

We would like to point out that data transmission on the internet is always potentially subject to security gaps. An absolute protection of data from access by third parties is thus not technically possible. Nonetheless, we do our utmost to protect your data. This site uses SSL encryption to protect the transmission of sensitive content (such as data you provide in online forms). You can recognise an encrypted connection when your browser’s address line changes from “http://” to “https://” and the lock symbol appears in your browser line. If SSL encryption is enabled, the data you submit to us cannot be read or modified by third parties during transmission.



Our website is maintained by our digital service provider, which is bound by contract and committed to data secrecy, and has to this purpose access to our server, located in our headquarters: wegewerk GmbH, Saarbrücker Str. 24, 10405 Berlin, Deutschland


Your rights

Regarding your data stored on our server, at any time you have the rights to request information, to rectification, deletion, restriction, data portability, withdrawal of consent and objection. For this purpose, as well as for further questions regarding personal data, you can contact us at any time.

The responsible party in terms of data protection law is:

German Ethics Council
Represented by the head of the office:
Dr. rer. nat. Joachim Vetter
Jaegerstr. 22/23
D-10117 Berlin

Data protection officer at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities:
Prof. Dr. Matthäus Heil

If you are not satisfied with our handling of your data, we kindly ask you to get in touch with us. You may also file a complaint with the supervisory authority.


Changes to our privacy policy

We reserve the right to change this data protection policy at any time to ensure that it complies with current legal requirements or that changes to our services are reflected in the policy, e.g. when introducing new services. Your next visit to our website will be subject to the new data protection policy.