This commentary identifies a key dilemma in immediate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic: the persistent foregrounding of digital technologies as “silver-bullet” solutions to overcoming tensions between surveillance and privacy. It illustrates the pandemic techno-solutionist dilemma by pointing to global efforts to harness blockchain technologies for “squaring the circle” between privacy and surveillance. It then concludes that further investigating the persistence and possible inevitability of this dilemma requires overcoming solitudes both within international political economy and between international political economy and interdisciplines such as surveillance studies.

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