When the First Sentence is Wrong, Why Read On?

by on September 9, 2010 · 11 comments

Individuals, shadowy criminal organizations, and nation states all now have the capacity to devastate modern societies through computer attacks.

It’s simply not true.

The author must not know the meaning of “devastate,” which is, according to the handiest Web dictionary, “to lay waste; render desolate.”

There is no such capacity—anywhere—to do such damage through computer attacks, and the capacity of some actors to produce some inconvenience, to cause some economic harm, and perhaps to cause physical damage or injury—none of that justifies such a stupidly phrased sentence.

It’s the first line of the abstract to “An e-SOS for Cyberspace” by Temple University law professor Duncan Hollis. Almost certainly, given the overblown premise, it calls for overblown reactions.

This concludes my review of the first sentence of another fear-mongering cybersecurity paper.

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