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"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Personal Capsule  
  An impenetrable device containing information for your eyes only.  

"…so they sent me out after you with this."

The tiny, gleaming sphere changed hands, and Gorm added, "It's confidential. Super-secret. Can't be trusted to the sub-ether and all that. Or So I gather. At least its a Personal Capsule, and won't open for anyone but you."

Ponyets regarded the capsule…

It opened in his hand and the thin, transparent tape unrolled stiffly. His eyes swept the message quickly, for when the last of the tape had emerged, the first was already brown and crinkled. In a minute and a half it had turned black and, molecule by molecule, fallen apart.

Ponyets grunted hollowly, "Oh, Galaxy!"

From Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

Compare to Frank Herbert's message cylinder from his 1965 novel Dune and the Argento-Platinoid Dispatch Box from Schachner and Zagat's 1931 story Venus Mines, Incorporated.

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