Because in the book the monitoring was real, and you noticed it. While PRISM is collecting lots of data they're not doing anything with it that you even notice. There are no speakers in the wall telling you what to do.
Is that risk? There are certainly nowhere near enough people at the NSA to monitor everyone. I imagine they think that with data-mining they can find terrists, but I doubt that will work. You're looking for outliers and *everyone* is an outlier in some sense.
Mind you, I find the issue about some small fact (like a lobster) being found to jail you a bit unrealistic. I don't think any judge would fall for it. There are not a lot of crimes you can commit in an email/phone call. You are not going to be convicted on the basis of emailing a friend about an undersized lobster without producing the lobster in question.
If they try to nail Assange by charging him on the basis of an email about an undersize lobster, everyone will just laugh.
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