Hong Kong-based e-mail outsourcing company Outblaze has adopted a new anti-spam technology that relies on United States copyright and trademark law to keep unwanted messages off your computer. The system, developed by California-based Habeas, offered a way to easily differentiate between acceptable e-mail and spam, chief executive Anne Mitchell said. 'We're letting you separate the wheat from the chaffe,' Ms Mitchell said. Habeas is a Latin term used in legal proceedings that means 'evidence' or 'to show proof'. Outblaze provides outsourcing services for large e-mail service providers including Internet.com and mail.com. Chief executive Yat Siu said spam was an industry scourge. Unwanted e-mail is a major challenge for the company, with 50 million of the 65 million messages Outblaze deals with every day being junk mail. The ratio of junk to legitimate mail is also on the increase. Outblaze spokesman Suresh Ramasubramanian said: 'Most spam blocking methods rely on the message recipient's basic distrust of the sending party, and the resulting conviction that users and systems would be better off without mail from that party. Habeas... instead lets us identify those persons and parties we can trust and rely upon not to send junk mail to our systems' While numerous other spam-blocking and filtering services are available, Ms Mitchell said the Habeas system was unique as it provided enforcement mechanisms to prosecute spammers. Under the Habeas Sender Warranted Email service, people and organisations can certify that e-mails they send are not spam by embedding into the header a special, universal mark. The mark is invisible to most recipients but can be read by those who know how to access the hidden portions of headers. The Habeas mark contains a haiku protected by copyright law. Six other lines contain the copyright and trademark notices and other trademark-protected information. Senders using the mark are verifying that the e-mail meets one of the following criteria: the e-mail is sent to only one recipient; the sender has verified permission from each recipient; the sender and each recipient share a pre-existing professional relationship; each recipient is a friend or family member of the sender and the e-mail is not commercial. Spammers who improperly use the Habeas warrant mark can be prosecuted under US and international trademark and copyright law. Habeas can seek penalties of US$1 million and more, shut down offenders, and in severe cases refer them for criminal prosecution.