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Dr. Catherine Halsey kept a pad of information with her about the SPARTAN-II candidates as she began to research them. She also appeared to have this technology on her glasses, as she could pull up and read files on them. Similar to modern day devices of the same nature, they can be password protected or in Dr. Halsey's case, sensitive to her retinas only.
The TACPAD appears to be a military application of the Data pad.