Privacy may be a hot-button topic, with service providers tweaking their settings and terms regularly, but some organizations have figured out how to get around it. And they’re doing it, says MSNBC, with some pretty unbelievable and invasive practices.

Maryland’s Department of Corrections used to ask for actual usernames and passwords. It ceased after an ACLU complaint, so it now asks job candidates to log in on-site and let an interviewer watch as they pull up their pics and posts. The policy is “voluntary” and was instituted to ferret out gang connections, but out of 2,689 profiles submitted for social media review — which were for almost all of the job hopefuls — there were a total of seven that revealed signs of gang ties.

In contrast, the policy at the University of Carolina isn’t optional. In order to play, entering college athletes at the University of North Carolina must friend their coach or school administrator, so their profiles can be regularly inspected. And this institution isn’t the only one. College sports departments are increasingly applying this tactic across the country, and there’s nothing to stop it from bleeding over into regular admissions protocols. At least one attorney has been receiving complaints from non-sports oriented students who have been asked to hand over their Facebook logins during the college application process.

In case you’re wondering, these incidences do violate Facebook’s Terms of Service. But pinpointing such situations and enforcing the rules can be tough without any actual laws in place. So in the Maryland state legislature, there are two bills being proposed that would ban social media monitoring by prospective schools and employers. If they pass, it’s a sure bet that some of the other states will outlaw the practice too.

In the meantime, however, it’s not illegal anywhere yet — which means that crafty employers and universities can still levy whatever social media surveillance policies they see fit.

Have you ever been asked to submit to a social media review? Would you let organizations spy on you to gain acceptance?

[via MSNBC]