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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Message Cylinder  
  A small metal object containing some form of message media and a mechanism for either playing or extruding the medium; secured communication device.  

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.

"So," Paul said, "we come to this." He lifted the message cylinder, removed its scrap of tape. "This was taken from a Harkonnen courier. Its authenticity is beyond question. It is addressed to Rabban. It tells him that his request for new troops is denied, that his spice harvest is far below quota, that he must wring more spice from Arrakis with the people he has."
From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

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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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
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