The US Coast Guard (USCG) needs to fix holes in its biometric system to prevent terrorists and felons entering the country through its sea borders, according to a new audit by the Department of Homeland Security.The DHS has found that the USCG does not have a routine process to ensure that the biometrics gathered by its 23 cutters are maintained in the DHS's Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT).Because the USCG is not reconciling its Biometrics At Sea System, or BASS with IDENT, this could “impede future identification of suspected terrorists, aggravated felons or other individuals of interest”.”Specifically, USCG did not maintain an independent, aggregate count of the total number of biometrics sent to IDENT and did not perform routine reconciliations to validate that the biometric data posted to IDENT were reasonably complete,” according an audit dated 3 March and released to the public on 12 March.The audit added that authorisation for a transition from a two fingerprint system to a 10-fingerprint system was not correctly documented.:The DHS said that a routine process has not been developed because there was confusion as to the owner of the biometrics information sent from the cutters.USCG officials said they didn't own the information and had no further responsibility aftert the biometric information left the cutters.The IDENT system automatically compares biometrics sent by the Coast Guard and sends a “match or no match response,” which confirms as a confirmation that the DHS system has received the record. And if there is no match, then a new record is created in the system. If there is a problem with the record, then the Coast Guard is instructed to fix the issue such as retaking an individual's fingerprint.The DHS's Office of Biometric Identity Management, which maintains IDENT, originally reported to the Inspector General that the system contained more than 4,600 BASS transactions from October 2006 through May 2013.However, it provided a report prepared by the Coast Guard that the transactions totalled more than 5,100 transactions, representing about a 10-percent discrepancy. Coast Guard officials attributed the discrepancy to a system error at the beginning of the BASS program.Reconciliations are important because agencies can then “ensure the integrity, accuracy, and completeness of data” and fix any issues that are spotted, the audit said.The Coast Guard has agreed with the findings and recommendations in the report and is taking steps to resolve the issues,