"Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together."
There are several mentions of message cylinders in the Dune novels. The idea is that these metal cylinders are locked; the message tape itself typically corrodes quickly and becomes unreadable when exposed to air.
This does not seem to be one of the more highly developed technologies - many times, they are described has having been captured and read by the enemy.
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