When private is public

Did you sign up for a private domain with GoDaddy? A school librarian recently found out that the private registration is for the time that GoDaddy wants and they cancelled the "private" registration without telling anyone.

RegisterFly, another discount registrar has some similar vague language in their terms of service for private registrations:

Registerfly.com expressly reserves the right to deny acceptance of your subscription, cancel your account or transfer your domain ownership back to you. We also reserve the right to disclose your information when required by law(court orders, subpoenas, official government inquiries). In the event of being named as defendant in any civil, criminal or legal related proceedings, the whois protection service for the affected domain will be terminated and the ownership information will transfer back to you. All verified spam complaints will result in your Protectfly service being terminated, consequently your domain ownership information will revert back to yours. Additional regulations for spam abuse are available via our TOS.

So it seems to boil down to this. You pay your fee. You get some modicum of protection from your name but when push comes to shove you won't have anonymity. The true irony comes in when one takes the whole of online services together. Across the spectrum we have people using a free service whose information is kept private even from their loved ones after their death and a living breathing person paying for a privacy service whose identity is revealed to adverse parties with seemingly little coercion.