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"I've got this beautiful panoramic three-dimensional painting of Mars based on Martian photos. It's 30 feet wide. You can pick out every pebble on the Martian landscape. And who'd have dreamed you could do that?"
- Arthur C. Clarke

Public Eye  
  A floating, free-roaming surveillance camera.  

I grabbed him before he hit the deck and dragged him quickly... I turned away.

A Public Eye was floating above and beyond me.

No reason to jump out of my boots. Nine times out of ten an Eye is cruising at random, unmonitored, and its twelve-hour loop may or may not be scanned by a human before it is scrubbed. The tenth time - a peace officer may be monitoring closely...

So I ignored it and kept on toward the exit end of the corridor. That pesky Eye should have followed me as I was the only mass in that passageway radiating at thirty-seven degrees. But it tarried, three seconds at least, scanning that locker, before again fastening on me.

My pocket pen became a laser beam and "killed" that Public Eye - killed it dead as I held the beam at full power until the Eye dropped to the deck, not only blinded but with antigrav shorted out. And its memory scrubbed - I hoped.

From Friday, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Not Known in 1982
Additional resources -

See an earlier reference to this idea; the copseye from Larry Niven's 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy.

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