Unlike my recent warp gate topic, I don’t consider this a request yet and would rather hear from everyone else what they think, as I’ve doubtless not thought of all the pros and cons (excluding the sure-to-be issues with implementation).
The idea is the possibility of adding a new mechanic, either specialty system/station/etc on a star or new research topic (possibly to replace the controversial terraforming? Just a random, recent thought) that allows for players to intercept messages to and from nearby players.
It makes more sense for it to be on a star because it would be more localized. Thus, one would have to involve it with scanning somehow so that whatever enemy star is closest counts as “in range” to intercept a message. Would have dire communication implications.
Obviously, the biggest problem would be the fact that players would just go somewhere else for covert negotiations the moment they see a star possesses an intercept outpost. This is a flaw in the idea that can never be fixed, and makes in more conjecture.
The only solution to the issue of alternate com. forms is that an interception outpost couldn’t be seen by enemies. This would add more juicy paranoia about whether or not someone’s listening to your messages or not, or who’s sharing them with whom.
Of course, once again, the obvious result of this is the near infinite list of other communication forms. But let’s just suppose…