There has been a practice of unlocking by owners of iPhones , Android and Samsung Galaxy devices including tablets in order use the device on another network or carriers such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. A new law goes into effect January 26 which bans unlocking phones without the carriers' permission. In reaction to this law there is now a petition circulation to change it.
First off, if you have an unlocked device, there is very little chance that will ever get in trouble as long as you are not a device trafficker. Unlocking is different from jailbreaking or rooting that changes the original iOS or Android software to allow it load other software or perform new functions. Unlocking the bootloader allows developers to load non-market apps onto the device for testing. The bootloader tells the device what to load at startup an is usually determined by the carriers' wishes for the device manufacturer.