Lately, there started news about operation PRISM everywhere and I find everyone discussing the buzz word in my day to day routine. I do not see any thing serious about this operation since the agenda used to be discussed in a closed group years ago and didn't come as a surprise when the information got leaked officially.
Nearly a decade ago, it was a time when both democratic and dictatorial form of governments used to be concerned about citizens, their opinion and understood their power of bringing any change to the system. But in today's time, I think governments across the world are more concerned about privacy of its citizens in the name of terrorism and national security.
"Top Secret" projects have exclusions from many constitutional interference and tend to go beyond the defined boundaries, which is very natural. So even if the intelligence is being gathered on foreigners under a close court supervision, we can't deny the access to the linked information which belonged to citizens and many of such links can be false positives or intentional. Or even if the intelligence is linked or unlinked, who cares, would someone dare to investigate linked-unlinked factor from Petabytes of data? Cyber operations are hard to investigate and easy to justify or disown, we know this rule.
Just after operation PRISM was picked up by the mainstream media, many of the government officials across the world started criticizing PRISM on or off the record, but they actually weren't criticizing US operation, but criticizing the companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc which participated in the operation and are not willing to coordinate with their country even in the case of criminal activities.
It has been a moot point from long time that Facebook, Google, Microsoft and many other such companies share the private data of users with US Feds. Foreigners can't do much about it due to addiction and dependency on such online portals, so even if they know about this, it won't matter since there are no local options.
So, if my private data is being accessed by my local government that could be threat to my privacy and I can still do something about it as per the law of the land, but if the data belonging to majority of the citizens is accessible to the other countries, it becomes national security issue, can be utilized to cause political and economic instability and even governments can't do much about it. However, both cases are considered to be a threat for rights to privacy but the impact differs.
It the current age of information, whosoever has information, has the power and currently US has most of it. In such situation, it appears we are heading towards an era where we will need localized versions of all online resources to safeguard the national interest. Most of such important portals are Email, VOIP, Social Media portals, Search Engines, Smart phones and apps. Chinese carry the right vision and they already have localized portals, restricting their country's information within their border to act as a cyber border.