‘The age of the whistleblower’

Volkswagen, caught up in two devastating emissions scandals, is belatedly embracing whistleblowers. Desperate to put the mess behind it, the carmaker set a deadline of this week for employees to come forward with information, even if self-incriminating, in return for avoiding dismissal or damages claims (but not protection from prosecution). Whistleblowers have already played a part in exposing the company’s exaggerated claims on carbon-dioxide emissions—though no one from within VW lifted the lid on its other scandal, the fiddling of its vehicles’ output of nitrogen oxides during tests. That was uncovered by an NGO, possibly with help from leakers in the European Commission.

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