If it's widespread and employees are too afraid for their jobs to complain publicly, there's a much bigger problem with American companies' sense of entitlement over workers' rights than can be repaired by ridiculing just one government agency. It would require an enormous public tide of ridicule to swamp the effort of any company that tries it and every corporate-hegemony lobbyist who argues employers should have all the rights of feudal lords over those they deign to employ. With no indication of how common the practice is or what organizations assume privacy boundaries shouldn't affect them it is impossible to generate or direct an appropriate volume of ridicule or outrage.
The state didn't respond to the ACLU. It did respond to a story in the Atlantic describing both the idiots and the idiocy.
A PR guy wrote to tell the Atlantic it had created misperceptions about the department; no one was required to turn over passwords. It was just a suggestion.
It was a suggestion made by the investigating officer interviewing an employee during a recertification process the employee had to pass in order to keep his or her job.
That kind of suggestion doesn't even come down the scale far enough to qualify as extortion; it stays right up there in the Unwritten Requirements section of the job description.
Message received; problem resolved (by making it worse)
The MDOC flak told the Atlantic the department no longer even asked for passwords; that everything was now hunky and dory.
Hunky and dory apparently means that you now force people to log in to their own Facebook accounts while you read over their shoulders and direct the cowed and largely helpless employee to navigate to the pages you want to read.
The Maryland Dept. of Corrections corrected an unbelievably stupid policy, in other words, by making the whole process just as invasive and illegal, but making it even more personally degrading to the employees involved.
Privacy advocates quoted in Time said in a jobless job market like this one, few employees have the power or chutzpah to refuse a demand for access even to private social-networks that have nothing to do with the job they're paid to do.
Anyone who works in the prison system but hangs out with felons IRL and on Facebook should have been caught at it by ordinary, court-approved background-checks that don't involve wholesale invasions of privacy.