The politics of cyberspace

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The Virtual Weapon and International Order.  By Lucas Kello. Yale University Press; 319 pages; £25. To be published in America by Yale in September; $35.

THE woes of international-relations theorists do not usually elicit public sympathy. But “The Virtual Weapon and International Order”, Lucas Kello’s lucid and insightful book on the politics of cyberspace, does a good job of persuading the reader of the near-vacuum that prevails in academic work on the threats to people’s computers and networks.

New technologies, he argues, have upended conventional understanding of the way states deal with defence and deterrence. The threat is pervasive; a cyber-attack can hit anything from a missile-control system to a media website, with potentially profound consequences. Geography is irrelevant. Old thinking about defending a perimeter makes no sense when the adversary is probably already lurking in your networks. The…Continue reading

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