Book Review of Nicole Perlroth's This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race (2020) by Nicole Perlroth
DICKINSON LAW REVIEW 2022
14 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2022
Date Written: April 1, 2022
In This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race, published at the end of 2020, author Nicole Perlroth traces the development and use of cyber capabilities, focusing on the U.S. government’s unintended role in creating a market for these cyber goods. Her purpose is a straightforward one: to illuminate. Perlroth explains that her goal is to “help shine even a glimmer of light on the highly secretive and largely invisible cyberweapons industry so that we, a society on the cusp of this digital tsunami called the Internet of Things, may have some of the necessary conversations now, before it is too late.” She seeks to accomplish this purpose by offering a treatise-like treatment of the subject, defining terms, tracking the historical development of governmental cyber capabilities and the parallel growth of a vulnerability broker industry, identifying key players and entities in the market, and profiling a slew of cyber operations and events. Despite the length and breadth of the book, her thesis is precise and blunt: the U.S. government’s practice of purchasing vulnerabilities for use in law enforcement, intelligence collection, and military operations led to a black market for these tools and an arms race between governments and an array of questionably-motivated private actors.
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