French Lawmakers Back Easy-spying Bill in Counterterror Move

French lawmakers approved a bill on Tuesday to let intelligence services deploy fly-on-the-wall spying devices more easily against suspected terrorists after Islamist militant attacks killed 17 people in January. Despite vocal opposition from critics who fear it will lead to mass-scale surveillance, the bill was approved by the lower house of parliament by a wide margin, with 438 votes in favor and 86 against. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has defended the law as vital to counter-terrorism activities and denied it was a French variant of the U.S. Patriot Act passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.