There's a lot of ignorance about the incident and about India here. I don't know whether they are legally liable in the US, but their conduct is questionable. I am utterly amazed how they have avoided harsh criticism in the twittery world of people looking desperately for something to be outraged about.
In a country notorious for being incredibly unsafe for women, they made these claims (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/in-mumbai-it-bragged-our-quality-checks-most-rigorous/):
"“Globally and especially in India, Uber is working towards making urban transit safer for women. Let me tell you, it’s one of our biggest concerns and we’re doing a number of things to drive that agenda. “In addition to their individual employers screening them, each of our driver partners are put through a rigorous quality control process, that is implemented religiously across the country even before a partner gets behind the wheel of your vehicle. In fact screening for safe drivers is just the beginning of our safety efforts. ”Our process includes prospective and routine checks of drivers’ license and vehicle records to ensure ongoing safe driving. Unlike the taxi industry, our background checking process and standards are so detailed, it is often more rigorous than what is required to become a taxi driver. Moreover, most of our partners are introduced to us via our preferred partners, which means that someone in the system has to vouch for their track record, creating a referral system of trust.”
They hired a driver with a long criminal record based on a forged police certificate. http://timesofindia.indiatimes...? No way in hell does an unverified piece of paper count as a comprehensive background check in India, and you would damn well know that before making claims like the ones above. Especially when you specifically claim to provide a safe option for women.
Then they ignored a complaint about the same driver by a female customer days before the rape: https://au.news.yahoo.com/worl...
I cannot go on about the kind of red flags this should have set off.
"Uber users can see the name, photo and phone number of the driver when booking a cab. However, in this case, the driver's phone was not registered in his name making it harder to trace him."
Their GPS tracking works via the drivers phone and the customers phone with the app installed. It's worthless, anyone who wants to circumvent it can.
They came to a country where women desperately need a safe mode of transport, made explicit claims about providing a safe service for women, and were utterly callous and negligent and deceptive.
As I said, I don't know about legal liability, but please find out more before making 'cars don't rape people, people do' posts.
All the sources I have quoted are newspapers with very decent standards of journalism. Don't go by the page 3 stuff on their sites - major Indian newspapers often have tabloid page 3 crap comparable to the worst tabloids, but their journalistic standards while far from impeccable are way better than say Fox News.