Today a significant proportion of the population (at least in the United States and Western Europe) has access to computers and information services such as the Internet. The ramifications for society are only just becoming clear. For example, the privacy aspects of maintaining electronic databases with personal information on citizens or customers are often little understood. Electronic bulletin boards and Web sites provide anyone a soapbox to express his or her opinions worldwide, but this often conflicts with national laws on libel or offensive speech ("hate speech"). The anonymity provided by such systems can be used for good (like blowing the whistle on illegal or unethical practices) and for bad (for instance, to commit criminal acts).