BAC (Basic Access Control) is a mechanism specified to ensure only authorized parties can wirelessly read personal information from passports with an RFID chip. It uses data such as the passport number, date of birth and expiration date to negotiate a session key. This key can then be used to encrypt the communication between the passports chip and a reading device. This mechanism is intended to ensure that the owner of a passport can decide who can read the electronic contents of the passport. This mechanism was first introduced into the German passport on 1 November 2005 and is now also used in many other countries (e.g., United States passports since August 2007)

In order to read a passport that is protected by BAC, first the MRZ (Machine Readable Zone) of the passport has to optically be scanned to access the data stored on the contactless chip (RFID) of the ID document.

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