Locutus: P2P with security

By Robert Menta 2/09/03

Ian Clarke is stepping back into the limelight. The 26-year-old creator of P2P client FreeNet has released a preview of his latest file-sharing project, Locutus.

Locutus differs from most other P2P networks on several levels, most prominently its focus on security. Ask any InfoSec professional and they will tell you about the risks of file sharing, especially in a corporate environment.

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Locutus limits this risk by setting up a rules pattern where the user defines groups of other users with which to share. For each group, the user specifies the files to which participants in that group may have access. A systems administrator can also define these groups for sharing between subsidiaries and partners. The commercial version of Locutus, Locutus Enterprise, will enforce "military grade" encryption over all files shared.

The application is only 400k in size, but many users will notice that the download is over 20MB. This is because Locutus relies on Microsoft's .NET framework, and if a user doesn't have .NET they will automatically download a version of the installer that does.

Both the preview version of Locutus and Locutus Lite will be free products. The enterprise version of Locutus, due this March, will be a pay application. It has not yet been disclosed whether this will be a one-time purchase or a subscription model.

What has been made clear is that the goal of Locutus is primarily to service commercial markets where professionals need the ability to share information or collaborate on projects remotely. One major advantage of this is that it gives the product a use besides those that have the potential for copyright infringement. This fact should shield it against music and movie industry lawsuits, even if individuals do decide to exchange protected material. The second is that, unlike most P2P services, this one has a clear business model, one that doesn't require a mass user base of tens-of-millions, like KaZaa, to be viable.

To download Locutus you can go here.


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