Most inmates in French prisons, apparently, own cell phones with which they access the Internet and social media websites. In Baumettes prison in Marseille, for example, between 70 and 80 percent of inmates have cell phones, the magazine said.
Periscope and Snapchat, two live video streaming apps, have gained widespread popularity in French prisons. Inmates show their lives behind prison cells by streaming online videos. Amusingly, for some reason their videos are pretty popular.
"Prisoners film themselves in their cells. They chat with their audience, which sometimes is more than 1,000 people, sending little hearts and emojis," L'Obs said.
Streaming videos from French prisons regularly get uploaded to YouTube. One video from last November, showing prisoners sliding on their bellies along the corridor of an unknown prison, has gathered over 77,000 views.
Apparently, prison authorities know their inmates own cellphones and have Internet access. Currently there is a debate between those who think that inmates should have a right to own cellphones behind bars and those who follow a harsher stance without the use of technology in prisons.
With Internet connection in prisons, inmates have free access to information which allows them to stay in touch with their friends from the outside world. This could lead to parcels with illegal goods being transferred into prison cells.
"While we walk, we get thrown small tennis balls filled with whatever we want. Prison is a small Club Med," said Luciano, a hoody-wearing prisoner streaming live video from his cell, while rolling a joint on camera.
Periscope was launched last spring and by August 2015, over 10-million people were already using it. At the end of 2015, Apple named Periscope as the iPhone App of the year.