November 18, 2020

Cortez Masto, Portman Introduce Legislation to Study Chinese Government’s Influence on Technology Standards Setting

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced the bipartisan Ensuring American Leadership over International Standards Act to study the impact of the Chinese government’s influence in setting global standards for emerging technologies.

“Nevada is a hub for technology development, and ensuring the United States leads the setting of international standards for emerging technologies will help keep the Silver State on the cutting edge of everything from 5G to artificial intelligence,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Setting international technology standards must be done in a transparent and democratic manner, and this legislation will help ensure the Chinese government isn’t exerting undue influence on the process.”  

“Standards setting is an important frontier in the development of artificial intelligence,” said Senator Portman. “American competitiveness with respect to China’s technonationalist pursuit of dominance in emerging technology requires the United States to prioritize integrity and transparency in international standards setting, and I urge my colleagues to support this common-sense bipartisan legislation.”


The development and deployment of advanced technologies will shape the global economy and national security landscape over the coming decades. It is vital that the United States continues to lead the global standard setting process to ensure the functionality, operability, and safety of emerging technologies. The Ensuring American Leadership over International Standards Act would direct the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to commission a study on the impact of the Chinese government’s influence in setting global standards for emerging technologies and would provide feedback on how the United States and our global allies can continue to ensure that international standards setting continues in a transparent and democratic manner. Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives David Schweikert (R-Ariz.-06), Ami Bera (D-Calif.-07), and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.-05) and included in the House version of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act.

Senators Cortez Masto and Portman have also introduced the bipartisan Safeguarding American Innovation Act to strengthen the security and integrity of United States scientific and research enterprise. Senator Cortez Masto also introduced bipartisan legislation to fund research into ways of detecting “deepfakes,” online videos that are manipulated to realistically mimic a person’s identity, to raise awareness and determine ways to combat the rising threat of this technology.