The US National Security Agency (NSA) - and by extension GCHQ - engages in widespread industrial espionage, claims former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The allegations were made by Snowden in a German television interview.
Snowden added that the industrial espionage was not limited to "issues of national security", but any engineering and technology that may have value to corporate America.
Citing German industrial giant Siemens as an example, he said: "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to US national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information nevertheless."
The latest claims will call into question the wisdom of shifting corporate applications to the cloud.
This may not just open up applications and data directly to snooping by US government organisations, but they can also make applications to the secret FISA court compelling US-headquartered or US-based companies to open up their systems to the NSA. These court orders also oblige the companies to secrecy.
Snowden also told the television company, German public broadcasting network ARD TV, that he no longer possessed any of the incriminating documents, insisting that he had handed everything over to journalists - not the Russian government, as his detractors have repeatedly claimed.
None of the documents that have been released by news outlets have gone so far as to indicate that the NSA is involved in industrial espionage, as Snowden claimed in the interview, although just one per cent of the treasure trove of documents that he handed over has been published to date.