Edward Tufte:

Agencies, departments, and organizations don't do things - people do things. People's names should be on things to foster both accountability and pride.

As quoted by Thaler Pekar via Daring Fireball.

I’m reminded of this wonderful quote every time I come across a citation like this, from an AP article on an Oxford plan to record the audio of every cab ride (emphasis mine):

Oxford City Council dismissed concerns over privacy violations, saying the recordings of conversations between passengers would be available only to police or other authorities in connection with specific investigations. "The risk of intrusion into private conversations has to be balanced against the interests of public safety, both of passengers and drivers," said a council spokeswoman, who declined to be identified, in keeping with departmental policy.

The irony of a spokesperson, whose entire career is to be quoted, demanding anonymity while downplaying concerns about privacy is rich, but I think this gets to the heart of an issue that has been raised by both the Tea Party and Occupy movements: Our institutions have become very large, very powerful and, perhaps most importantly, very unaccountable. Anonymity allows hydra-like staying power for institutional bad practice: Find a fall guy, shuffle some chairs and return to business as usual. Tying a name to a policy, and consistently tracking the execution of that policy, (hypothetically) ensures the risks and rewards of a decision are more evenly applied to the executor.

Perhaps what need is not more regulation of corporations, but rather a clarity of which persons these proxy persons are acting on behalf and at the behest of.