RFC2323: IETF Identification and Security Guidelines

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Related keywords:  (extremis) (facial) (FHE) (hairius)

Network Working Group                                          A. Ramos
Request for Comments: 2323                                          ISI
Category: Informational                                    1 April 1998

              IETF Identification and Security Guidelines

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

1. Abstract

   This RFC is meant to represent a guideline by which the IETF
   conferences may run more effeciently with regards to identification
   and security protocols, with specific attention paid to a particular
   sub-group within the IETF: "facial hairius extremis".

   This document will shed further illumination on these problems and
   provide some possible solutions.

   This memo provides entertainment for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind, but is rather
   unstandard, actually.  Please laugh loud and hard.

2. Introduction

   It has come to the attention of THEY [1] that a certain "facial
   hairius extremesis" of the male variety of the species "homo sapien"
   of the sub-culture "computeris extrordinarisis" have overrun the IETF
   conferences and thus led to the break-down of many identification and
   safety protocols.

3. Per Capita (Anecdotal) Evidence

   While collecting research about the sub-group "facial hairius
   extremis" (FHE), it was noted that the per capita appearance of FHEs
   at IETFs was largely disproportional with the existence of FHEs in
   the world-at-large.  In fact, the existence of facial hair at all
   within the IETF community is extraordinarily common among the males
   of the group.  Apart from ZZ-Top and WWF Wrestling, it is not
   possible to find more facial hair within any occupational group.  In

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   this author's own experience the average amount of men with long-term
   facial hair is less than 20%.  Long-term versus short-term facial
   hair is a very important distinction as short-term facial hair, also
   known as the temporary illness "goatee universitis" (which symptoms
   range from full goatees to the less popular chin-goatee) is a common
   affliction for university-based males.  Per capita (temporary) facial
   hair can go as high as 40%.  However, among the males of the IETF the
   per capita long-term facial hair is as high as 60% [2].

   Ordinarily, this abundance of long-term FHE would not require that an
   RFC be written.  However, increasingly there have been issues
   regarding mistaken identification.  For security purposes as well as
   ease of identification, this RFC will serve to clarify these issues
   and hopefully provide a solution for them.

4. Mistaken Identification Syndrome (or "Are you --jon. or Scott?")

   I was speaking to a very well-known network researcher, I'll call him
   --jon., who tells me that he is often mistaken for a SOBbing Harvard
   person.  --jon. says, "People tell someone to look for me or him and
   say that I'm about so-tall with a big white beard, and suddenly
   people are coming up to me and saying, 'Hi Scott' and he often tells
   me that he is mistakenly hailed as, '--jon.'.  Often the mistake is
   made solely on the appearance of our facial hair."

   Another story --jon. told me is that once a woman called looking for
   a computer researcher but only having a first name and physical
   description.  The receiptionist asked for the description and the
   woman said she was looking for an older Caucasian man with a beard.
   The receptionist reportedly blurted out, "they all have beards!!!!"

   On a more personal note, two researchers who were both employed at
   USC/ISI shaved their very famous facial hair and were both
   unrecognizable to friends and co-workers alike.  If it weren't for
   B.M.'s Grateful Dead T-shirts and lack of shoes, or R.V.M.'s voice I
   would have never recognized them.

5. Security Considerations

   It is obvious to this researcher that facial hair of any variety is a
   very recognizable characteristic.  Indeed, when giving a description
   of a male who has facial hair, it is always one of the first
   characteristics given.  Ordinarily this would not be a problem, since
   facial hair in the world at large is below 20%.  However, when used
   as a description at IETFs, disaster can insue.

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6. Solutions

   There are two parts to my proposed solution: the role of the seeker
   and the role of the FHE.

   For those who are seeking a FHE of known identity:

      -It is important to recognize these men as individuals.

         Just because a man has the facial hair you are looking for,
         please stop to inquire if you have the correct person.  Think
         of what a blow it is to a person's ego to be constantly
         misidentified, and think of how annoying it is to be hailed by
         someone across a crowded IETF room and they are yelling the
         WRONG NAME.  So remember to look, identify, and ask BEFORE you
         begin rambling on about some Internet stuff.

   For the FHE:

      -Give proper signals when being sought.

         If someone mistakenly calls you the wrong name, do not lose
         heart.  Count to 10 and commonly reply, "You must have mistaken
         me for so-and-so, I am not that person.", and walk away.  Also,
         if someone calls you from across a room, raise your your arm,
         smile and wave vigorously in affirmation or raise your arm,
         shake your head and give them a sign that you are not who they
         are looking for.  As an FHE it is part of your responsibility
         to understand that facial hair is an extremely identifiable
         physical characteristic.  Understand that non-FHE people do not
         mean any harm.

7. Conclusion

   In closing, I hope you found this RFC worthwhile and that it raised
   some interesting points.  I also hope that I was able to further the
   cause of FHE and to make everyone's life a little bit easier. ;^)

8. References

   [1] THEY
       THEY, "We Who Everyone Quotes But Doesn't Know Who We Are", Pop
       Culture, April 1998.

   [2] 60% of IETF men have facial hair
       A. Ramos, "Damn, A Lot Of Men Here Have Facial Hair", ISI Talk,
       September 1997.

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9. Acknowledgements

   I would like to thank the men of ISI who inspired me to write this
   RFC.  I hope that my work will make life easier for you, and that the
   cases of mistaken identity will not be as common in the future
   because of this RFC.  I understand your plight and feel for you.
   Good luck.

   Thanks to my life partner, Martin, who's reoccuring affliction of
   goatee universitis is a constant source of joy for me.

10. Author's Address

   Alegre Ramos
   4676 Admiralty Way #1001
   Marina del Rey, CA 90292

   Phone: 310-822-1511 x153
   EMail: ramos@isi.edu

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RFC 2323      IETF Identification and Security Guidelines   1 April 1998

11. Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
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   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
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   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an

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