The Communications Act of 1934 was substantially updated in 1996.
The FCC classified ISPs as "telecommunications services", same as now, until the mid-2000s.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that the FCC had the authority to classify ISPs as either "telecommunications services" or "information services".
By 2010, ISPs had begun to violate the consumer protection guidelines the FCC laid out in 2005. The FCC responded with regulations, but ISPs challenged even the most basic provision: no outright blocking of lawful content.
The DC Circuit ruled the FCC couldn't regulate "information services" that way but suggested the FCC could undo the reclassification. So it did.
ISPs sued over that too, but the DC Circuit upheld it.
Is that the FCC reinterpreting a 1934 law or a court applying a 2005 precedent?
After that was settled, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the FTC had no authority to regulate common carriers. The FCC published the regulations Congress just overturned two months after that.
The FTC historically did privacy for ISP's.
FTC has no section 5 authority (IE to make those kinds of rules) for common carriers. It's specifically exempted by the FTC act, and has been for 90 years. This has been upheld in court. See https://iapp.org/news/a/the-att-v-ftc-common-carrier-ruling-and-how-it-changes-common-carrier-regulation/
In June 2015, the FCC reclassified the ISP's as common carriers.
Tada, the FTC rules no longer apply.
So the FCC regulated them with roughly the same set of rules.
Now they've undone this.
Now the claim is "well, the FTC should be doing it, it was just a power grab by the FCC". But that's not really accurate. The power grab, if any, was reclassifying them as common carriers. Once that was done, they pretty much had to regulate them because the FTC can't.
Because the FTC still doesn't have authority to regulate them, and they are still classed as common carriers, there is a void.
Now, it may actually be better for the FTC to be regulating them. But it's definitely the case that, for the moment, no privacy rules will apply to them because the FTC can't regulate them until the FTC's common carrier exemption is repealed.
See Maureen(an FTC commissioner)'s speech here: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements/893473/151204plispeech1.pdf
Note, the speech is out of date a bit, because since then, the 9th circuit court ruled that the exemption is status based, not activity based, despite what the FTC wants.
Congressional Review Act was used to strike the regulations down, which requires that it be a new federal regulation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Review_Act
So the FCC can no longer do anything about it without a new law passed by Congress:
Once a rule is thus repealed, the CRA also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same, "unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule"
I am just curious when the Republican's in power are going to work towards protecting internet privacy. Hit me up here if anyone has seen something taking shape.