For immediate release: April 4, 2024


Organized by digital rights powerhouses Fight for the Future and Color of Change, 29 mutual aid organizations demand Congressional intervention in the financial surveillance of activists and the weaponization of PayPal data to oppress dissent.

Amid court proceedings in Atlanta officials’ weaponization of PayPal data to bring racketeering charges against members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, a wide coalition of mutual aid organizations is calling for a federal Congressional investigation. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is a prominent bail fund operating in a historic tradition that dates back over 100 years and was an essential force in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. 

Three Atlanta Solidarity Fund organizers were arrested in a ‘horrific’ militarized raid, and face money laundering indictments based on PayPal transactions that include reimbursing an activist for glue sticks and a garden hose—absurd charges enabled by FinTech company PayPal’s intensive surveillance and data collection on every transaction their users make. Such practices are widespread among FinTech corporations, as recently detailed in a major house judiciary report on law enforcement “commandeering” financial institutions to spy on Americans.

The letter reads in part: “This is a chilling illustration of the threat that the last 20 years of rampant financial surveillance poses to mutual aid organizations across the country—allowing every moment of connection between a community and activists, healthcare patients, and/or disaster survivors to become a weapon for bad-faith actors, be they law enforcement or vigilantes.”

See the full letter and list of signatories at 

Mutual aid organizations such as bail and abortion funds rely on risky FinTech solutions like PayPal both for donations and to get money into the hands of those in need quickly, as there is no privacy-preserving alternative that is easy for everyday recipients to use. Often those who rely on mutual aid funds are facing extremely stressful events and possess limited technological literacy. The existence of mutual aid funds themselves are also under attack—especially in Georgia, one of several states where a new law aims to end bail funds entirely.

The globally diverse mutual aid organizations signed onto the letter include Shareable; Cleveland Pandemic Response; abortion funds like Plan C and Jane’s Due Process; Berlin Collective Action; InterReligious Task Force on Central America; and disaster recovery organizations Louisiana Just Recovery Network and Common Humanity Collective.

Michael Collins (he/him), Senior Director of Government Affairs at Color of Change, which co-organized the letter, said: “In the shadow of ‘Cop City’, a symbol of priorities out of step with the wishes of Atlantans, the Atlanta Solidarity Fund emerges as a beacon of ethical engagement. This fund embodies the true spirit of community, standing against the tide of surveillance and unjust persecution. Atlantans deserve a city that reflects their values, not one defined by militarized raids and intrusive surveillance. The Solidarity Fund represents a collective assertion of our right to shape our own future, free from undue influence. It stands as a testament to our resilience and determination to build a city where mutual aid, not coercion, reigns supreme.”

Tom Llewellyn (he/him), Interim Executive Director at Shareable, a letter signatory, said: “Mutual aid organizations and bail funds embody the spirit of community resilience and solidarity. They stand as crucial lifelines for those navigating the challenging waters of legal systems and social injustices. Federal protections are needed to ensure the continued support and safety of community organizers from persistent financial surveillance and threats of criminalization.”

Lia Holland (they/she), Campaigns and Communications Director at Fight for the Future, which co-organized the letter, said: “The stark reality is that financial surveillance is just as harmful and dangerous as surveillance of our communications. Many social media companies are implementing default end-to-end encryption to protect our conversations, but meanwhile FinTech companies are spying on us more than ever. We need end-to-end encryption for our financial lives, and Congress investigating the escalating abuses of intimate financial data in Atlanta is an important step toward accountability and change.”