🤓Module 5 -> Lesson 2

Close reading, active listening, rich discussions

Anchor Text(s) for this Lesson

Supporting Text(s)/ Resources for this Lesson

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students build on their learning in the last several lessons by continuing to think about the role of legislation in regulating the deployment of FRT in policing. Students watch a short video called Ethical and Responsible Use of FRT produced by a software company advocating for regulation and engage in conversation about the 6 questions presented in the article "Six questions to Ask Before Accepting a Surveillance Technology. Students synthesize their learning by reviewing that list of questions and indicating whether or not they agree they are important question and what, if any, questions they would add to that list.

Nota Bene

You might want to adjust this lesson to better suit your teaching style and the needs of your students. The slide deck presents it as a collaborative read aloud with time for conversation after each blurb. Be sure to adjust this so it suits the timing and pacing needed in your particular setting.


Students will be able to...

  • Generate questions that will elicit information needed to make an informed decision.

  • Evaluate questions to determine whether they will productively support decision making.

  • Engage in conversation about what issues should be considered when deciding whether to accept a FRT to be used in policing.

Suggested Duration

45 minutes (adjust according to your students' needs)

NYS Next Generation ELA Standards

  • R1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly/ implicitly and make logical inferences; develop questions for deeper understanding and for further exploration.

  • RH9: Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

  • W1c: Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary to express the appropriate complexity of the topic.

NYS Computer Science & Digital Fluency Standards

  • 9-12.IC.1 Evaluate the impact of computing technologies on equity, access, and influence in a global society.

  • 9-12.IC.3 Debate issues of ethics related to real world computing technologies.

  • 9-12.IC.5 Describe ways that complex computer systems can be designed for inclusivity and to mitigate unintended consequences.


  • ethical: relating to moral principles and values; conforming to standards of good conduct and behavior.

  • systemic injustice: injustices that are deeply rooted in the system or society, and not just individual actions or beliefs.

  • perpetuate: to cause something to continue indefinitely; to keep something going, especially something that is negative or harmful.

  • oversight: the state of being in charge of someone or something

  • legislation: a law or a set of laws passed by a government body


Present the following hook to the class:

Imagine you run into a council member from NYC Council at an Electronic Frontiers Foundation event and she asks you, the famous EFF research intern, what YOU think about FRT being used for policing in New York City. She lets you know that the the Council wants to understand more about the risks and benefits of FRT used in policing and will soon hear from representatives from a major company selling FRT along with high level officials from the NYPD. The council member asks for your help to compile a list of important questions that she and her colleagues should be sure to ask in these meetings.

What is your advice to the council member? What questions should she ask to understand the benefits and risks of FRT when used for policing. Try to come up with as many questions as you can–aim for at least 5.

Facilitate a full class discussion and invite students to share the questions they came up with. Ask them why they think these particular questions are important to ask and how they might influence decision making.


In our last module, we considered whether the NYPD FRT Impact & Use Guidelines are a sufficient protection against potential risks and abuses of FRT when used for policing.

In our last lesson, we learned that all over the country, cities and states are engaged in conversation–and court battles–about this topic.

Building on our imaginary scenario in the warm-up, we are going to do some research to help you prepare a solid list of questions to give the mayor for his meeting with the software company that is selling FRT and top officials from the NYPD. It’s YOUR chance to influence a powerful decision maker!

The following video is part of a presentation that was provided to the mayor by the software company selling the FRT. What questions should the mayor ask in his meeting?

Purpose for Viewing: What recommendations does the software company selling FRT make in terms of regulation?

Facilitate a conversation with students to process the video. Some potential questions for that conversation:

  • What are the stated benefits of using FRT in policing according to the video?

  • What are some of the reasons for regulating the use of this technology in policing?

  • What recommendations would YOU make to the city council member as she prepares questions to ask the software company AND NYPD leadership in their meeting?

Briefly explain to students what the ACLU is and present the source that the text on the next several slides comes from (in slide deck). Depending on your setting, you can facilitate a full-class conversation or provided students with access to the text or slide deck and allow them to engage in conversations in small groups.


Jay Stanley, an ACLU policy analyst, wrote an article called “Six questions to ask before accepting a surveillance technology.” We are going to read and discuss his recommendations to determine whether we want to pass them on to mayor as is–or if we want to revise the list in some way.

We’ll read each question and short passage together and briefly discuss whether it’s important for the mayor to ask this question. What types of information is he likely to learn from each? Are there follow up questions we want to prepare him to ask? [See slide deck]

After our discussion, we will take two minutes to jot down some notes in our activity guides. [Depending on your setting, adjust timing as needed.]

Wrap Up

Students finalize their reflections in the activity guide. Take the temperature to get a sense of where students are in their reflections and determine whether additional time is needed before moving on the lesson 3.

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