Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "John Naughton writes in the Guardian that the insight that seems to have escaped most of the world's mainstream media regarding the revelations from Edward Snowden is how the US has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users' data proving that no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data. 'The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system,' writes Naughton. 'Nothing, but nothing, that is stored in their "cloud" services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.' This spells the end of the internet as a truly global network. 'It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, ie divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated. Now, Balkanisation is a certainty.' Naughton adds that given what we now know about how the US has been abusing its privileged position in the global infrastructure, the idea that the western powers can be allowed to continue to control it has become untenable. 'Why would you pay someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets, if you suspect or know they are being shared against your wishes?' writes Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission. 'Front or back door – it doesn't matter – any smart person doesn't want the information shared at all. Customers will act rationally, and providers will miss out on a great opportunity.'"