Connor Haaland

Connor Haaland graduated from South Dakota State University in 2019, earning degrees in Spanish and Global Studies with minors in Economics and French. Most recently, Connor has been a research assistant at The Mercatus Center, where his primary research was on the intersection of law and emerging technology, publishing numerous articles and working papers on the subject. Connor will attend Harvard Law School this Fall.

As a JURIST Digital Scholar, Connor will research data governance paradigms, focusing specifically on China, the US, and Europe. These three entities have unique data governance structures and illustrate well the various paths down which countries may proceed. Moreover, for countries like the US that lack a clear governance strategy, analyzing existing regimes can inform future legislation and policy goals. Creating successful data governance structures is of paramount importance today because there is an intimate link between data and AI, which is where the most exciting technological breakthroughs are happening. For instance, driverless vehicles alone could reduce vehicular accidents so much so that it might well be the greatest public health breakthrough in our lifetimes. Likewise, AI could be used to complement healthcare workers and create superior patient outcomes. The realization of these groundbreaking applications, however, relies on data aggregation. The link between AI and data and the benefits it may allow must be understood. But, these benefits must be tempered by the understanding that data is sensitive and ought to be governed with the utmost care. Striking a balance between the aggregation of data, using it to power groundbreaking technologies, and the very real privacy concerns that accompany that aggregation is what Connor's research will flesh out.

At South Dakota State, Connor ran for the track & field and cross-country teams, worked as an English teacher to migrant farmworkers, and as a legal assistant to asylum seekers. Connor was also a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in 2019. In the future, he hopes to practice law and ultimately make his way into the policy space in whatever capacity he can make the biggest impact.

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