The DES (the data encryption standard) is being replaced.
In an article on CNET, Bruce Schneir, a well known author in Cryptography, has written about the DES and its uses. He talks of how it was modified by the NSA and how a new algorithm is being put in its place.
Bruce Scheier's books, Applied Cryptography, is particularly good. Its not a read for the layman, as it does get quite technical. In the US the book comes with a disk which contains the source code for the algorithms in the book - this was banned from export, although the book itself (which contains the algorithms) was not.