Surveillance: Means or End?

Recorded in April 2020.

2020 will be remembered as the year when a novel strain of coronavirus spread around the globe, leaving a trail of death, despair and disruption in its wake. In this podcast, we explore the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting lives worldwide. We ask how it will change the world as we know it - from the global economy and geopolitics to the long-term consequences for people, societies and cultures. And we want to know: What can we learn from this pandemic and our responses to it?

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to work and school from home, to self-quarantine, and to maintain social distance. As more of our lives have gone online, Western governments are considering to follow South Korean and Chinese approaches and embrace sophisticated surveillance tools that can track even individual population movements in order to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. So, will the move towards increasing levels of surveillance, especially in Western liberal democracies, hollow out after the Coronavirus pandemic ends, or are we on the cusp of a new normal, one where governments embrace surveillance?

In this episode our guests are:

- Steven Feldstein (Associate Professor at Boise State University’s School of Public Services and a Non-Resident Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

- Xiao Qiang (Research Scientist at the University of California Berkley’s School of Information, Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times)

- Jan-David Franke (Project Manager at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Editor of

- Allie Funk (Research Analyst at Freedom House)

- Ulrike Franke (Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations)