Hostage, a person held in captivity to assure that an agreement is observed or to coerce another party into taking (or not taking) some action. Countries in ancient and medieval times sometimes exchanged hostages, often persons of high rank, who could be put to death if certain agreements were broken. Invading armies often take hostages of local citizens to discourage resistance to their occupation. Terrorists sometimes seize hostages both to force concessions from governments and to gain publicity for their cause.
If you need an analogy for PRISM, one apt comparison would be to HBO's show "The Wire." Just swap "U.S. government" for Baltimore police, "Internet data" for phone wiretaps, and name the target as "really anyone" instead of drug traffickers. Got it?
You probably hear about lawsuits a lot -- neighbors suing neighbors over an overgrown tree, customers suing grocery stores over spilt milk, employees suing employers over unlawful termination. Whatï¿½s involved in taking someone to court? Find out all about lawsuits and see how a civil case unfolds.